Kim Kardashian Denies Buying Illegally Exported Ancient Roman Statue

Kim Kardashian West
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Kim Kardashian West arrives to attend the amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Feb. 6, 2019.

The U.S. Attorney's office is demanding a federal judge intervene and order the forfeiture of a seized antique Roman statue that was imported in Kim Kardashian's name, though a rep for the star denies she ever purchased it.

The seizure of the statue occurred May 3, 2016, when a custom’s officer contacted a Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent for assistance regarding a shipment that arrived at the Port of Los Angeles that contained an antique statue that was possibly protected cultural property from Italy. The Customs entry form for the statue listed “Kim Kardashian dba Noel Roberts Trust” in Woodland Hills, California, as the artifact's importer, according to a complaint filed April 30 by the U.S. Attorney’s office in California. The merchandise in the shipment was listed as having a gross weight of 5,000 kg and valued at $745,882. According to documentation from the broker, Masterpiece International, the statue -- which depicts the lower half of a human figure -- was listed as “Fragment of Myron's Samian Athena, Limestone, Roman, 1st – 2nd century A.D.”

Border patrol agents demanded documentation from Masterpiece International, which said it was told that the work did “not originate from Italy.” However, government officials determined that this statement contradicted several of the entry documents submitted, including the invoice, which indicated that the defendant statue did, indeed, originate in Italy.

In a statement to NBC News, a rep for Kardashian denied that she ever bought the statue. "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 said. "We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners." TMZ is reporting that sources say the purchase was made by Kardashian's estranged husband, Kanye West.

In February 2018, an archaeologist from Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage conducted an analysis of the defendant statue determining it to be of classical Peplophoros style (early to mid-Roman Empire), which represents a copy of an original Greek sculpture. “Based on the information and scientific aspects the archaeologist provided, the archaeologist opined that the defendant statue was looted, smuggled and illegally exported from Italy,” according to the complaint by the government.

The statue is currently in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where it will stay during this case. The government is asking a judge to enforce the forfeiture of the statue.

Billboard's request for comment from Kardashian's rep was unanswered at press time.