In 2011, however, a 500 lb, 10th-century sandstone statue of a mythic warrior known as Duryodhana was withdrawn from auction at Sotheby’s after a Cambodian official claimed that it had been looted from the archeological site of Koh Ker.
Prosecutors alleged that Latchford had exported the figure from Cambodia in 1972, but when Sotheby’s was seeking to verify its provenance he claimed that he had had the statue in London in 1970 – then changed his story to claim that he had never owned it at all.
Sotheby’s agreed to return the Duryodhana to Cambodia after a court case in which the US government sided with Cambodia.
Then in 2013 the Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return two statues from the same site after Cambodian officials presented evidence that they had been smuggled out of the country during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
The statues had arrived at the museum in four separate pieces as a series of gifts between 1987 and 1992. Latchford was the donor or part-donor for three of them