The Nation



Ancient statue will be returned to Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Sotheby's auction house in New York has agreed to return an ancient statue to Cambodia, ending a heated legal battle that began more than a year ago.

The agreement, signed Thursday by lawyers for Sotheby’s, the consignor and the US government, states that the auction house will transfer the statue to a representative of Cambodia in New York within 90 days.

Sotheby’s and the consignor, a Belgian woman named Decia Ruspoli di Poggio Suasa, ``have voluntarily determined, in the interests of promoting cooperation and collaboration with respect to cultural heritage, to arrange for the statue to be transferred to the Kingdom of Cambodia,’’ the agreement says.

The statue was pulled from an auction in 2011 after Cambodia expressed concerns that it had been looted from the country’s Koh Ker temple complex in the 1970s. After negotiations with Sotheby’s broke down, the US government launched the legal case in 2012 on grounds that the auction house had known the statue to be stolen when it imported it.

Associated Press

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