An employee of the Norwegian Embassy has been detained by tax officials for attempting to smuggle architectural treasures and other valuables out of the country, the Tax Authority said Monday. Issa Nagam, a driver for the Embassy, was found carrying ten kilos of architectural artifacts, including figurines, well-preserved jugs, ancient coins and other items, as he attempted to cross the Allenby Bridge and enter Jordan.
The value of the items is undetermined so far, but the export of such items is illegal. Nagam was arrested last week and detained until Monday, when a Yerushalayim judge released him to house arrest.
Along with Nagam was a senior official in the Norwegian Embassy in Israel. A routine search of the vehicle uncovered the contraband hidden in the panels of the vehicle in small packages. The diplomat claimed no knowledge of the smuggling attempt.