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Zahi Hawass accompanied the relic
The first piece of a collection of antiquities smuggled from Egypt disguised as cheap souvenirs has been returned to its origins. A 4,400-year-old painted tomb fragment was handed over to Egyptian officials following the trial of Frederick Schultz, who was jailed for nearly three years in June for selling stolen goods.
No matter how significant or insignificant a relic is, we will have lawyers everywhere to return our antiquities
Schultz sold treasures including a $1.2m (£816,000) bust of a pharaoh that had been smuggled out of Egypt disguised as a cheap souvenir by convicted UK dealer Jonathan Tokeley-Parry.
The tomb fragment - handed over to Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities - is the first of the pieces from the high-profile case to be returned.
Egypt's authorities are determined that the head of a statue of the Pharaoh Amenhotop III and a bronze statue of the falcon-headed deity Horus will come back to its homeland.
Egypt recovered Akhenaton's sarcophagus from Germany this week
"No matter how significant or insignificant a relic is, we will have lawyers everywhere to return our antiquities," said Mr Hawass.
But there is a delay as all of the historic objects must be examined by antiquities authorities to prove they are registered in Egypt.
Tokeley-Parry had smuggled the piece out of Egypt by dipping it in plastic and painting it black to make it look like a holiday memento.
He passed it on to Schultz, a gallery owner and a former president of the American Association of Dealers in Ancient Art, who then sold it to a London-based collector.
The men told potential clients that the objects were part of the fictitious Thomas Alcock Collection, which was gathered by a UK family in the 1920s.
Tokeley-Parry had spent three years in a UK jail from 1997 for smuggling, and gave evidence against his former collaborator Schultz at his trial.