Federal authorities request confiscation of ancient Roman statue that was heading towards Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian has not purchased an ancient Roman sculpture that federal authorities are trying to seize after it was imported into the United States five years ago, a representative for the reality TV star said on Wednesday.

Italian officials believe that the sculpture, described as “Fragment of Myron’s Athena Samian, limestone, Roman, 1st – 2nd century AD”, was originally looted in Italy, and they want it returned. , according to a civil forfeiture lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles last week.

The case dates back to 2016, when the ancient statue arrived at the Port of Los Angeles and immediately caught the attention of U.S. customs and border protection officials.

The broker provided CBP with a form that listed the consignee, or buyer, and importer as “Kim Kardashian dba Noel Roberts Trust”. The shipment, described as containing antiques, furniture and decorations, contained 40 pieces with a total value of $ 745,882, according to the record.

Image: Italian statue (Ministry of Justice)

The case documents do not allege any wrongdoing on Kardashian’s part.

Speaking on behalf of Kardashian, a representative told NBC News that “this is the first time she has learned of her existence.”

“We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorization and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction. We encourage an investigation and hope it will be returned to the rightful owners, ”said the representative.

The United States and Italy have reached an agreement to end the trafficking of looted cultural property that requires documentation for imports.

Upon arrival of the cargo, customs officials feared that it was “a protected cultural property of Italy”, according to the file.

During the investigation, authorities found inconsistencies between documents indicating the statue was from Italy and an unsworn affidavit stating that the statue was not there, the court record says.

A month later, they seized the statue after the broker failed to prove enough documents to U.S. authorities, according to the court record.

Italian Carabinieri for Cultural Heritage Protection told Homeland Security Investigations in 2016 that they wanted the statue returned, the document said.

The U.S. government said on file that an Italian archaeologist concluded in 2018 that the piece showed signs of having been in Italy during the Roman Empire, and there is no record of its legal export as the requires a law of 1909.

“On the basis of the information and scientific aspects provided by the archaeologist, the archaeologist estimated that the statue of the accused had been looted, smuggled and illegally exported from Italy,” he said.

The Italian archaeologist has determined that the statue is “classical Peplophoros style,” which represents a copy of an original Greek sculpture, according to the record.

A representative of a Belgian art company, Axel Vervoordt, who bought the statue and sold it to what he described only as his American client, said he had just learned of the confiscation request .

“We acquired this piece in good faith from a French gallery which had also acquired it in the same good faith from a German auction house,” Anne-Sophie Dusselier said in an email on Wednesday.

“The former collector was English, but precise traces seem to end there. However, there is no evidence that this piece was illegally imported from Italy,” she said.

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