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US defends claim in Sotheby’s case

In a new filing, US Attorneys’ Office lawyers demanding the repatriation of a 10th-century Cambodian statue ramped up their argument that the statue was stolen, maintaining that an “organised looting network” assisted in the theft.

The filing came in response to a statement from Sotheby’s lawyers earlier this month asserting that there was no evidence that the statue of Hindu warrior Duryodhana was stolen from the Koh Ker temple complex, as the prosecution alleges.

The prosecution holds that looters transferred the statue, “with the head removed first and the torso afterwards”, to Thailand, where “it was knowingly acquired from the looting network by a well-known collector of Khmer antiquities,” whom the prosecution identified as British national Douglas Latchford.

Although Latchford has denied the allegations, the prosecution asserts that Sotheby’s spoke frequently with him, but kept this from other interested parties.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justine Drennan at justine.drennan@phnompenhpost.com

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