Sotheby’s trying to resolve 1,000-year-old relic dispute with Government of Cambodia

NEW YORK (AP).- Sotheby’s is working to help return an ancient statue to Cambodia after the government claimed it had been illegally removed from the country decades ago. The auction house said Wednesday it took the 1,000-year-old relic off the auction block a day before a sale scheduled for March 24, 2011, after Cambodia sent a letter asking Sotheby’s to do so and arrange for its return. The 5-foot (1.5-meter) -tall sandstone sculpture of a mythical warrior in an elaborate headdress had been estimated to sell for up to $3 million. Sotheby’s identified the seller as a European collector who purchased the work from a London dealer in 1975, almost two decades before a 1993 Cambodia law prohibited the removal of cultural artifacts without government permission. The auction house said it informed Cambodia