via The Guardian, 07 October 2021: This article summarises some of the developments from the past few weeks including the return of the first sculptures from the Douglas Latchford collection, the new revelations about his offshore accounts in the Pandora Papers, and also the guilty plea from antiquities dealer Nancy Weiner.
Cambodian officials have celebrated the return of five important ancient Khmer sculptures from the collection of Douglas Latchford, among more than 100 his daughter Julia promised to return after his death last year.
Latchford, a businessman who lived between the UK and Thailand, was a world expert on Khmer antiquities and a prolific collector, but in 2019 he was indicted in the US on charges of smuggling and forging documents. He died in 2020 before reaching trial.
Latchford came under scrutiny in 2011 after US authorities took legal action to stop the sale by Sotheby’s of a 10th-century Cambodian sandstone sculpture, the Duryodhana bondissant, worth millions, which was alleged to have been stolen from Prasat Chen, a temple at the 10th-century Khmer capital, Koh Ker.
More questions were raised when New York dealer Nancy Wiener was indicted in 2016 for possessing stolen property. Two of the artefacts were sourced from Latchford. On Thursday Wiener pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen property in connection with allegedly looted artefacts from India and south-east Asia. Some of the items were sold to galleries in Australia, and in some cases have since been returned to their country of origin.