Kim Kardashian denies any knowledge of an ancient Roman statue that federal authorities are attempting to seize after it was imported to the U.S. five years ago under her name. The statue, believed to be stolen and described as "Fragment of Myron's Samian Athena, Limestone, Roman, 1st – 2nd century A.D.," was seized at the Port of Los Angeles in 2016 as part of a $745,882 shipment containing 40 pieces worth of antiques and furniture addressed to Kim Kardashian dba Noel Roberts Trust, according to documents obtained by NBC News.
A representative for Kardashian told the outlet that "this is the first that she has learned of its existence," denying any involvement in the alleged smuggling scheme. "We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorization and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction. We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners," the rep added of the investigation.
At the time of the statue's seizure, Kardashian and now-estranged husband Kanye West were renovating their Calabasas, California home with the assistance of interior designer Axel Vervoordt, and customs officials reportedly were provided a receipt from Kardashian's business entity claiming the statue was bought in 2012 from Vervoordt, who purchased it from Galerie Chenel in Paris. Inspectors would discover, however, that the receipt provided for the statue was not for Myron's Samian Athena, but for another work of art.
In 2018, Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage determined the statue depicting a woman's lower half was "looted, smuggled and illegally exported from Italy," and showed signs of having been in Italy during the Roman Empire. There were no records of it being legally exported and the Italian archaeologist who determined its date of origin also identified the statue as being in the "classical Peplophoros style," which would make it a copy of an original Greek sculpture.
"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 and a 'fragment of Myron Samian Athena' would refer to only a portion of a statue, which is what defendant statue is," court documents allege. Kardashian has not been accused of any wrongdoing by the court documents. Italy's Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage has requested the statue be returned to Italy.