Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sotheby’s claims ignorance

Sotheby’s claims ignorance

Sotheby’s claims ignorance

Sotheby's auction house, which has been locked in a dispute for a year over a multi-million-dollar Angkorian statue, has denied knowledge of the statue’s suspicious provenance and asked for the case to be dropped and attorneys’ fees repaid.

In a 16-page document filed with a US district court on Monday and obtained yesterday, the New York-based auctioneer shoots down claims made by US government lawyers late last year that Sotheby’s was aware the statue was likely stolen and provided “inaccurate provenance information to potential buyers, the Kingdom of Cambodia, United States law enforcement, and others”.

“Claimants deny knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations set forth,” the filing states more than 20 times in response to each government allegation.

Among the knowledge denied is “allegations regarding whether Koh Ker suffered serious damage or widespread looting during this time period and whether any such looting of Koh Ker was “widely publicized” or “well known to the international market.”

US attorneys working on behalf of the Cambodian government have argued repeatedly that Sotheby’s knowingly accepted a false affidavit concerning the statue’s origins. The sandstone statue of the mythic Hindu warrior, known as the Duryodhana, stood at its Koh Ker temple complex site for more than a millennia before it was pulled from its base in 1972 and smuggled to Thailand.

Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced that it would repatriate two statues from the same temple complex after receiving evidence they had been looted.

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not