Sotheby’s Goes to Court to Try to Block Seizure of Cambodian Statue

06 Apr 2012 12:33 PM | Anonymous

Sotheby’s Goes to Court to Try to Block Seizure of Cambodian Statue

Sotheby’s asked a federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday to bar the government from seizing a 1,000-year-old Cambodian statue that Sotheby`s sought to auction last year for as much as $3 million.

Federal prosecutors and the Cambodian government say the statue was stolenfrom a Cambodian temple and should be returned to Cambodia. But a lawyer for Sotheby’s, Peter G. Neiman, said in court papers that the company’s bid to sell the antiquity on behalf of an anonymous Belgian collector was legal under its interpretation of American and Cambodian cultural property laws.

He called prosecutors’ arguments for confiscating the statue “tenuous” and filled with “legal and factual holes,” and said the government was not equipped to care for the 500-pound sandstone depiction of a mythological warrior.

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