The family of late American billionaire George Lindemann has reportedly agreed to return over two dozen looted artifacts to Cambodia as the United States government continues its effort to repatriate stolen valuable and historic items from the Southeast Asian country.
Key details: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Lindemann’s family agreed to return 33 Khmer antiquities looted from the Kingdom of Cambodia back to the country, some of which reportedly date back to over 1,000 years ago.
“This historic agreement sets a framework for the return of cultural patrimony in support of the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Cambodia,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in the press release.
About the artifacts: Some of the artifacts that Lindemann acquired include a 10th century statue of Dhrishtadyumna stolen from the Prasat Chen temple in the ancient capital of the Khmer kingdom, Koh Ker, and six heads of devas (angels) and asuras (demons) that were removed from the gates to Angkor Thom in the Angkor Wat temple complex.
The artifacts, which had been passed down to Lindemann’s heirs after his death in 2018 at 82, are believed to be worth around $20 million.
How it was revealed: Investigation into the stolen artifacts began after reports revealed that the relics had been photoshopped out of pictures taken of daughter Sloan Lindemann Barnett’s $42 million San Francisco mansion in 2022. A photospread from an issue of Architectural Digest in 2021 purportedly showed the unedited versions of the photos.
It is reportedly unclear if the family was aware that the relics were stolen.
Cambodia’s reaction: In a statement, Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said that the family’s decision to return the looted relics from the Southeast Asian country serves as “an excellent and proper example for other museums and private collectors.”