via Phnom Penh Post, 10 October 2019: The sculpture is associated with Douglas Latchford, who is under investigation for illicit trafficking of antiquities.
Cambodian and US archaeologists on Thursday discussed the formalities and procedures of returning to Cambodia an artefact which was recently seized by US Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) from an auction house in San Francisco.
On Monday, the HSI said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and HSI San Francisco special agent David Keller, assisted by HSI New York special agent John Paul Labbat, seized a Cambodian artefact put up for auction in the bay area of San Francisco on September 12.
Its report said: “An ancient Cambodian sandstone sculpture was described as a Shiva and Uma statue dating back to 921-945 AD and valued at approximately $350,000.”
The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ Heritage Department director-general Prak Sovannara told The Post on Thursday that Cambodian specialists are now contacting culture experts at the US embassy in Phnom Penh to discuss procedures to return the artefact.
“We are really happy with efforts from the US side. They have always helped us search for and seize our ancient Cambodian artefacts from the hands of dishonest traders and return them to the Cambodian government,” he said.