For 50 years, Douglas Latchford was the world’s premier expert on Cambodian art, supplying priceless statues to Western museums and rich collectors. But his fame masked a dirty secret. Douglas had colluded with the Khmer Rouge, a genocidal regime, to loot Cambodia’s entire cultural heritage.
As the country descended into bloodshed, Douglas stole almost everything. A network of art world cronies were on hand to help him sell these blood statues, including a senior curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
When a band of art sleuths get on their case, Douglas and his co-conspirators mount a rearguard action to save themselves. This is a story the art world doesn’t want told. Unlike the Elgin Marbles, and other brewing controversies over stolen art, our story isn’t ancient history. This tale is happening now.
Dynamite Doug is a Project Brazen production. For more fearless storytelling, search for the Brazen channel on Apple Podcasts or visit brazen.fm, home to all our podcasts, documentaries and newsletters. At Brazen, we show you how the world really works – from espionage and corruption to deal-making and organised crime, we’ll take you inside stories from hidden worlds.
Don’t stay in the dark. Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus and get exclusive bonus episodes, as well as ad-free listening and early access to new shows. For the latest from Brazen delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters at brazen.fm/newsletters.
This week on Dynamite Doug we’re sharing the first episode of a new four-part series from Brazen called ‘The Professor’.
William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is alleged to have stolen $40 million worth of art and antiquities from Italy. Charged with 14 counts, including money laundering, forgery, wire fraud and conspiracy, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years. But he has a plan to get out of trouble.
In this four-part podcast, host Simon Willis follows him as he puts that plan into action. It’s a story that takes listeners deep into the underworld, and into the dark heart of the most famous criminal organization of them all – Cosa Nostra. It is a story of drug dealers, hitmen, smugglers, spies – even a corrupt prime minister. And in the middle of it all is William Veres’s quest to save himself. How? By solving the coldest cold case in the history of art crime – the theft of Caravaggio’s Nativity.
The Professor is a series for Hidden Worlds, the home of unbelievable true stories and gripping investigations into shadowy places. Subscribe to Hidden Worlds and get brand new series delivered to your favorite podcast app year-round. One podcast, endless stories. For more, visit brazen.fm/hidden-worlds.
Subscribe to Brazen+ on Apple Podcasts or at brazen.fm/plus to get ad-free listening.