Ancient Roman statue at center of international custody fight

A Roman statue that was to be auctioned in New York has been caught in an international tug of war instead.

Eliezer Levin, of Israel, has owned a nearly 2-foot-tall marble depiction of the goddess Cybele since 1987, when he bought it at an auction in his home country.

But when he sought to sell it in 2016, the government of Turkey claimed the piece had been stolen from that country.

Turkey sought to reclaim the statue — which dates to the 1st century AD, according to court papers — after Levin got a license to export it for the New York auction and was required to undergo an Interpol check.

There’s no evidence the statue was stolen, claims Levin, who wants a judge to declare him the rightful owner of the piece.


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