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Indian, Chinese sell African ivory in US

An Indian-American businessman here has pleaded guilty to selling jewellery and artifacts in Manhattan worth over $2 million made from illegal ivory obtained from endangered and threatened elephants from Africa.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2012 21:06 IST

An Indian-American businessman here has pleaded guilty to selling jewellery and artifacts in Manhattan worth over $2 million made from illegal ivory obtained from endangered and threatened elephants from Africa.


Mukesh Gupta, 67, and Johnson Jung-Chien Lu, 56, entered into a plea agreement with the Manhattan district attorney’s office under which Gupta and his firm Raja Jewels must forfeit elephant ivory worth nearly $2 million, and pay $45,000 fine, and Lu and his company New York Jewelry Mart must forfeit ivory valued at approximately $120,000 and pay $10,000.

The fines would be donated to be donated to the the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for use in the organisation's projects involving elephant protection, anti-poaching efforts and combating the illegal ivory trade.

The investigation led to the seizure of close to one tonne of illegal ivory articles and items.

Gupta, Lu and their companies pleaded guilty to five counts of illegal commercialization of wildlife.

"Poachers should not have a market in Manhattan," Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance said. "It is unacceptable that tusks from elephants wind up being sold as mass-produced jewelry and unremarkable decorative items in this city."