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Russian bank aids search for Irish businessman’s assets

MOSCOW — The Irish Bank Resolution Co. is working with one of Russia’s largest banks to help find and seize assets in the former Soviet Union that belong to Sean Quinn, a bankrupt Irish billionaire who was once Ireland’s richest man.

Quinn, 65, is under investigation for avoiding payment of 2.8 billion euros, or $3.5 billion, in loans he owes to the Irish Bank Resolution Co., formerly the Anglo Irish Bank, which seized the Quinn Group Conglomerate in 2011.

His downfall, brought on by a ruinous investments amid the global financial crisis, came to personify the Irish economic collapse. Quinn declared bankruptcy, and he, his son, and a nephew were jailed for contempt of court for hiding assets from the bank.

—Andrew Roth, The New York Times

Hopi tribe wants to stop auction of artifacts in Paris

In a rare case of a cultural heritage claim arising from the sale of American artifacts abroad, the Hopi Indians of Arizona have asked federal officials to help stop a high-price auction of 70 sacred masks in Paris next week.

The tribe is receiving advice from the State and Interior departments, but each agency says its ability to intervene is limited.

While foreign nations routinely rely on international accords to secure U.S. help in retrieving antiquities from the United States, Washington has no reciprocal agreements governing American artifacts abroad.

“Right now there just aren’t any prohibitions against this kind of large foreign sale,” said Jack F. Trope, executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, which is seeking laws and treaties that would give the United States more force to intervene.

—Tom Mashberg, The New York Times

North Korea blocks workers from South at border

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea blocked South Koreans from crossing the heavily armed border to a jointly operated industrial park Wednesday, raising the possibility that the North is adding to its recent cascade of threats and provocative actions by cutting the last remaining major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

It was not the first time that North Korea had disrupted the park’s operation. It blocked cross-border traffic three times in 2009, once for three days, out of anger over joint military drills by South Korean and U.S. troops. That blockade was lifted when the military exercises ended. The current U.S.-South Korean military drills are to continue until the end of April.

—Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times