LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are seeking the forfeiture of an ancient Roman sculpture that Kim Kardashian was allegedly in the process of acquiring after officials determined it had been illegally smuggled out of Italy, according to court papers obtained Wednesday.
The marble and limestone statue resembling the lower half of a person draped in fabric was seized at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport in June 2016 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after a company linked to Kardashian attempted to import it using the wrong documentation, the civil forfeiture action alleges.
A Kardashian representative issued a statement saying the reality TV star “never purchased” the piece and that “this is the first that she has learned of its existence.”
“We believe that it may have been purchased using her name without authorization and because it was never received (and) she was unaware of the transaction,” the statement reads. “We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners.”
Archaeologists who examined the sculpture concluded the piece was “looted, smuggled and illegally exported” from Italy, and Italian authorities have requested its repatriation, according to the document filed Friday in Los Angeles federal court.
The five-ton work — valued at nearly $750,000 and addressed to “Kim Kardashian dba Noel Roberts Trust” in Woodland Hills — is known as a “Fragment of Myron’s Samian Athena” dating back to the 1st or 2nd century AD, the document states.
The piece is currently in the custody of CBP, where it will remain subject to a judge’s decision.
The forfeiture action names the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star as the consignee and importer of the sculpture.
Court documents allege Kardashian bought the sculpture in 2016 from the Axel Vervoordt Gallery in Belgium. The Belgian art dealer helped decorate Kardashian’s home in Calabasas.
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