AFP-Jiji CAIRO (AFP-Jiji) — Egypt has asked international police agency Interpol to track down a 3,000-year-old Tutankhamen artifact that was sold in London for $6 million despite fierce opposition from Cairo, government officials said.
Christie’s auction house sold the 28.5-centimeter relic for £4,746,250 ($5,970,000) to an unknown buyer in early July at one of its most controversial auctions in years.
But less than a week after the sale, Egypt’s National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation (NCAR) said after an urgent meeting that national prosecutors had asked Interpol “to issue a circular to trace” such artifacts over alleged missing paperwork.
“The committee expresses its deep discontent of the unprofessional behavior of the sale of Egyptian antiquities without providing the ownership documents and the evidences that prove its legal export from Egypt,” the NCAR said in a statement.
The committee — headed by Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany and attended by his predecessor Zahi Hawass as well as officials from various ministries — also called upon Britain to “prohibit the export of the sold artifacts” until the Egyptian authorities were shown the documents.
It suggested the issue could have an impact on cultural relations, by referencing “the ongoing cooperation between both countries in the field of archaeology, especially that there are 18 British archaeological missions are working in Egypt.”Speech