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Last month, we wrote posted a piece about the looted Duryodhana statue that was spotted at auction. This week the sculpture and two of its buddies arrived back in Cambodia.

Here are the details from ICE:

3 looted, ancient statues repatriated to Cambodia
June 4, 2014

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Three ancient sandstone sculptures were repatriated Tuesday to the Royal Government of Cambodia at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.

The repatriation of the 10th-century Duryodhana, Bhima and Balarama statues followed an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The three pre-Angkorian sandstones statues were believed to be looted from Prasat Chen at the Koh Ker temple complex during the Khmer Rouge era and trafficked on the international art market. When the Duryodhana was offered for sale by an auction house in 2010, the Royal Government of Cambodia requested assistance from the U.S. government in recovering the statue.

Joint efforts by the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, the U.S. Department of State, HSI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York led to the voluntary return of the statues to Cambodia. The auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, returned the Duryodhana and the Balarama, respectively. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, returned the Bhima. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York returned two more statues in June 2013 to Cambodia. All the statues will be on display to the public in the National Museum of Cambodia, reunited with their pedestals.

The United States and Cambodia entered into an agreement in 2003 to restrict the importation into the United States of certain Khmer antiquities. Since then, the U.S. government has partnered with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Ministry of Interior to train Cambodian police in preventing and investigating crimes at cultural heritage sites. It has also assisted judges and prosecutors in developing a comprehensive strategy for prosecuting cultural property crimes and provided more than $2 million for cultural preservation projects throughout Cambodia.

According to the National Museum of Cambodia, 97 Cambodian artifacts have been repatriated from the United States to Cambodia over the past two decades. These efforts highlight the commitment of the United States to safeguard Cambodia’s cultural legacy and illustrate the deepening bonds of cooperation, friendship, and mutual respect between the people and governments of our two countries.

On July 17, 2010, ICE repatriated seven antiquities to Cambodia. The agency also repatriated one antiquity to Cambodia July 30, 2007.

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