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Kim Kardashian denies knowledge of 'illegally smuggled' ancient Roman sculpture

Kim sculpture scandal

Kim Kardashian has denied owning an ancient Roman sculpture that the U.S. government believes was illegally smuggled out of Italy.

It was claimed that Kardashian had purchased the limestone statue, Fragment of Myron's Samian Athena, back in 2016 - from the Axel Vervoordt Gallery in Belgium.

However, upon its arrival in the United States as part of a 5.5-ton shipment of antiques and furniture in May that year, authorities were alerted to the fact that the artwork, believed to be from the first or second century, might be protected cultural property.

Once they began looking into the paperwork associated with the sculpture, further discrepancies led to officials becoming suspicious about its origin - and an archaeologist was sent by Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 2018.

Upon examination, the expert concluded that the artwork had been "looted, smuggled, and illegally exported from Italy", and prompted federal agents to file a civil forfeiture complaint in California on Friday, demanding that Kardashian relinquish the statue.

However, a representative for the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star insisted that she had no idea about the sculpture, saying in a statement to the New York Post's Page Six gossip column: "Kim never purchased this piece and this is the first that she has learned of its existence. We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorization and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction. We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners."

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