A hoard of ancient Greek silver coins seized at a Swiss airport is being repatriated to Greece, the country's culture ministry says.

A ministry statement Friday said the 118 coins from the early 4th century BC were confiscated by Zurich airport customs in November 2011, from a Belgian man permanently residing in Greece.

The coins are thought to have been originally buried together, probably for safety during times of unrest, although the find spot is unknown.

Greece's rich cultural heritage has been plundered for centuries. In recent years the country has stepped up efforts to get back illegally exported artifacts from foreign museums and collections.

The ministry said the coins' return followed an out of court settlement, but gave no further details. The hoard was expected in Athens later Friday.