KMOV.comThe St. Louis Art Museum has filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep a 3,200-year-old mummy mask that Egypt wants returned, claiming it was stolen.
The museum says the U.S. government is trying to seize the 20-inch (51-centimetre)-long funeral mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer and return it to Egypt. But the museum says it has legal rights to the mask it purchased from a New York art dealer for $499,000 in 1998.
The St. Louis Art Museum is going to court to try to keep a 3,200-year-old mummy mask that Egypt wants returned, claiming it was stolen nearly two decades ago.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in St. Louis on Tuesday, the museum is seeking a judgment to prevent the U.S. government from seizing the 20-inch-long funeral mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer and returning it to Egypt. The museum claims it legally purchased the mask, that there was no evidence the mask was ever stolen, and that the statute of limitation has expired for any seizure under the Tariff Act of 1930.
Museum attorney David Linenbroker said Wednesday that the lawsuit was filed after a Jan. 13 meeting in which federal prosecutors made it clear they intended to begin proceedings to seize the mask and return it to Egypt.