Egypt's prosecutors have turned to Interpol, asking them to “issue a circular to trace" artifacts like the notorious Tutankhamun mask, recently sold by Christie's auction house for $5,970,000 that could have gaps in the paperwork.
The National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation (NCAR), which includes high-ranking Egyptian officials and is headed by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, has stated that they took their rift to a new level less than a week after the disputed 3,000-year-old relic was sold to an unknown buyer despite Egypt’s concerns that it had allegedly been smuggled out of the country earlier.
It stated that a British law firm had been hired to proceed with a legal battle and file a "civil lawsuit”. In this plea, the country’s authorities also called on the UK to "prohibit the export of the sold artifacts" until all its documents are presented to Egypt and warned that the whole situation could have an impact on "the ongoing cooperation between both countries in the field of archaeology, especially that there are 18 British archaeological missions are working in Egypt".
"The committee expresses its deep discontent of the unprofessional behaviour of the sale of Egyptian antiquities without providing the ownership documents and the evidence that prove its legal export from Egypt”, NCAR said in a statement.
The Arab country vehemently opposed Christie’s selling the head of the so-called "Boy King" insisting that it might have been "stolen" in the 1970s from one of the ancient temple complexes near Luxor. The auction was accompanied by protests and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s calls on their British colleagues and the international cultural body UNESCO to put the sale on hold.
Christie's has refuted the allegations and released a chronology of European art dealers, who have owned of the artifact in question over the past 50 years. One of the world’s most renowned auction houses also insisted that it would "not sell any work where there isn't a clear title of ownership".
"The object is not, and has not been, the subject of an investigation”, Christie's stated, as cited by the AFP.