AceShowbiz - Kim Kardashian has denied reports suggesting she had "smuggled" an Ancient Roman sculpture. The "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star, who has been ordered to forfeit the "Fragment of Myron's Samian Athena" statue by the U.S. government, insisted she's unaware that it was imported in her name.
Offering clarification regarding the matter was the 40-year-old reality star's representative. "[She] never purchased this piece and this is the first that she has learned of its existence," the representative said in a released statement.
"We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorization and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction," the rep continued. "We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners."
Kim allegedly bought the statue from Axel Vervoordt Gallery in Belgium in 2016, while she and her estranged husband Kanye West were renovating their Calabasas mansion. The artwork, which dates to the 1st or 2nd century AD, was stopped when it arrived at the Port of Los Angeles. On the reason why, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials alerted that it was "possibly protected cultural property."
The precise value of the statue remains unknown. However, it reportedly arrived as part of a 5.5-ton shipment, and was unveiled to contain 40 modern furniture, antiques and decorative objects which valued at $745,882.
According to a civil complaint for forfeiture filed in federal court in Los Angeles in late April, the statue was originally "looted, smuggled, and illegally exported from Italy." The country now asks the statue to be returned.
While Kim purchased the work from Alex, the art dealer and designer previously bought it from Paris' Galerie Chenel in 2012. Director of Galerie Chenel Ollivier Chenel told Artnet News that the gallery acquired the sculpture legally from an auction house in Germany in 2010, which had purchased the statue from an English estate.
"It is very strange that [the complaint does not mention] the German auction house as the information was given to them at the time," Olliver additionally shared to the outlet. "I can guarantee you that this sculpture was acquired legally at Hampel Auction house in 2010."