When U.S. Federal prosecutors ordered Kim Kardashian West to “hand over a classical Roman statue” which had been looted from Italy, she played dumb. Statute? What statue? I didn’t buy any statute. She’s reportedly working with authorities while they figure out what Kanye West had been doing behind her back, with the Belgian decorator who was furnishing their mansion like a museum.
Justice Department Prosecutors
Kardashian couldn’t actually turn the statue over to prosecutors because it was seized by customs in 2016 and has been collecting dust in one of their evidence warehouses ever since.
She’s being asked to sign it over on paper so it can be returned to Italy. No problem, she insists. She claims not to have known a thing about it.
On Friday, prosecutors with the Federal Department of Justice filed a civil complaint claiming that “Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated a fragment of Myron’s Samian Athena.”
The statue is historically significant and was carved “in the first or second century.” They grabbed it when it came through the Long Beach Seaport in Los Angeles on June 15, 2016. The value of the entire shipment was $750,000 and it was addressed to Kim Kardashian, in care of her trust which she admits was used to make purchases like that.
Athenian sculptor Myron created a group of bronze sculptures based on tales of Athena and Marsyas, the satyr. Athena is the Goddess of war. Satyr’s are male nature spirits associated with fertility.
Myron’s sculpture tells one popular version of the myth. Athena was an expert musician on the “double oboe.” Once gracing the front of the Parthenon, travel writer Pausanias saw the installation in 440 BC and described it as “a statue of Athena striking Marsyas the Silenos for taking up the flutes that the goddess wished to be cast away for good.”
The story relates that “Athena, who was already said to have invented the aulos, once looked in the mirror while she was playing it and saw how blowing into it puffed up her cheeks and made her look silly, so she threw the aulos away and cursed it so that whoever picked it up would meet an awful death.” In a follow up story, “Marsyas picked up the aulos and was later killed by Apollo for his hubris.” All prosecutors care about is who owns it and who tried to smuggle it here.
Kanye did it with the decorator
As soon as the scandal started by the prosecutors hit the tabloids, Kim’s team put out a 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.” They “encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners.”
The statue fragment had been impounded in 2016 but it wasn’t until 2018 that “an archeologist from Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage determined the limestone statue of the lower half of a woman was looted, smuggled and illegally exported from Italy.”
About the time it was shipped, “Kardashian and husband Kanye West were renovating their Calabasas, California home with the help of famed Belgian interior designer, Axel Vervoordt.” Prosecutors think Vervoordt made the deal and shipping arrangements.
Someone on the Kardashian side of the dispute sent a receipt to Customs officials trying to convince the prosecutors that the statue in question was a legitimate purchase with a legal provenance.
“The November 2012 Galerie Chenel invoice did not appear to be for the defendant statute because the term ‘a large draped statue’ would refer to an entire/whole draped natural sized statue.” Try again.