Kim Kardashian has denied knowing about an ancient Roman statue that was part of a $ 750,000 shipment on her behalf that was confiscated by customs officials in 2016 for “looted, smuggled and illegally exported from Italy”.
The first century limestone statue shows the lower half of a woman from the waist down and is titled Fragment of Myron Samian Athena.
The U.S. government filed a compliant order directing the reality star to lose the statue.
It was imported to Los Angeles in 2016 while Kardashian and Kanye West were renovating their Calabasas home but were confiscated by customs officials.
Axel Vervoordt, a famous Belgian interior designer and antiques and art dealer, was responsible for the design and is named alongside Kardashian in court documents.
Kardashian’s spokesman told DailyMail.com that she had no idea the statue was imported on her behalf.
“Kim never bought this piece and this is the first time she has found out about its existence,” said the spokesman.
“We believe it may have been bought under her name without authorization, and since it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction.
“We encourage an investigation and hope that it will be returned to its rightful owners.”
Kim Kardashian and then-husband Kanye West bought the statue for their Calabasas home
The ancient Roman statue has been described as a fragment of the Myron Samian Athena
Several people and companies are named as involved in the court documents.
‘The interests of Axel Vervoordt (‘ Vervoordt ‘), Axel Vervoordt NV / SA, Meys & Zonen, NV, Noel Roberts Trust, Freeman Group, Inc. and Kim Kardashian, also known as Kimberly Noel Kardashian West, may be affected by these Procedure, ”they say.
“The Noel Roberts Trust, Freeman Group, Inc. and Kim Kardashian are collectively referred to as the” Noel Roberts Trust “.”
The Noel Roberts Trust was the company through which Kardashian and West bought their home in 2014.
Vervoordt, who worked on their properties with Sting and Trudie Styler, Robert de Niro and Bill Gates, bought a statue in November 2012 from the Chenel Gallery in Paris – a place that specializes in Roman antiquities.
They said the statue was part of an “Old German collection that was bought before 1980”.
The exact value of the sculpture is unknown, but it arrived as part of a 5.5-ton shipment that contained 40 antiques, modern furniture, and decorative items valued at $ 745,882.
It was imported as part of a US tariff plan for “antiques 100+ years old” as opposed to archaeological material.
When customs agents inspected Kardashian’s statue in Los Angeles, they received a receipt for the purchase from the Chenel Gallery.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in their Vervoordt designed home in Calabasas
The minimalist house was described by West as a “futuristic Belgian monastery”.
Kardashian in the house featured in Architectural Digest
But US government officials told a Los Angeles court that Kardashian’s statue is not the one purchased in 2012, but another that was obtained illegally.
“The Chenel Gallery’s bill of November 2012 did not seem to apply to the defendant’s statute, as the term” a large draped statue “only refers to a full-size draped statue and a” fragment of Myron Samian Athena “only one would refer to part of a statue, which is what the defendant’s statue is, the court documents say.
“In addition, the invoice Masterpiece International provided CBP with included handwritten notes showing that the statue of the defendant came from Italy.”
Customs confiscated the statue in June 2016 after concluding that “the evidence showed that the defendant statue was classified as archaeological or ethnological material” and they were not convinced by the 2012 bill.
A month later, Italian authorities confirmed they believed Kardashian’s statue had appeared on Vervoordt’s stand at the European Art Fair in Maastricht, Netherlands, in March 2011 – a year before Vervoordt claimed to have bought it.
In February 2018, an archaeologist from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage examined the statue of Kardashian.
Kardashian poses indoors for Vogue
The sculpture was part of a box of items that were shipped from Europe for her home
Vervoordt, a Belgian interior designer and art curator, worked on West and Kardashian’s house
The court documents state: “The archaeologist stated that the defendant statue is in the classic Peplophoros style (Early to Middle Roman Empire), which is a copy of an original Greek sculpture.”
They concluded that it was the same statue that was on display at the 2011 art fair, not the one that was purchased from the Paris art gallery.
Kardashian’s statue has not been registered and issued with proper permits for sale and export. Hence, “the archaeologist believed that the defendant’s statute was looted, smuggled and illegally exported from Italy.”
However, the Paris antique dealer said the officials made a mistake and there were no two statues.
They made the mistake of confusing paperwork.
Ollivier Chenel, a director of the Chenel Gallery, told Artnet News that Vervoordt loaned the statue prior to its official takeover – which would explain why it was on Vervoordt’s stand in 2011 and sold to him a year later.
Chenel said the gallery bought the sculpture from an auction house in Germany in 2010 and that it was previously from an English estate.
‘It’s very strange that [the complaint does not mention] the German auction house when they were given the information at the time, ”said Chenel.
“I can guarantee that this sculpture was legally purchased at the Hampel Auction House in 2010.”
Vervoordt did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Vervoordt was enlisted by West, who had a thriving interest in architecture and design, to work on Kardashian and West’s California home.
He had met Vervoordt at design fairs in Maastricht and Venice.
When I saw the kind of work he was doing, I thought, this man could design Batman’s house. I had to work with him, ”West told Architectural Digest in February 2020 when the magazine featured its“ futuristic Belgian monastery ”on the cover.
“It was a coup to get Axel to come to Calabasas to restore a McMansion, which was essentially what the house was.”
West interviewed Vervoordt for a 2018 feature film in The Hollywood Reporter.
“They always say:” Think globally, act locally. “One of the questions I still have to you is: How do we build our furniture in LA and not let them stop at customs from Belgium?” West asked.
Vervoort replied: “I think we are looking for something that belongs to it, that has always been there and that will make it more timeless in the future, but it is also related to the origin.
“It’s always the search that has gone very far in the past, and that is how you go far in the future.”