Douglas Latchford Daughter to Pay $12 M. Regarding Theft

Douglas Latchford Daughter Needs to Pay $12 M. From His Estate, In Order to Settle a Civil Suit Regarding Theft.

Jun 25, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Douglas Latchford
Latchford, a well known collector of Khmer art repatriated a number of Khmer antiquities during the event. (Photo: AFP)


Douglas Latchford was a British art dealer and smuggler, who died in 2020. The U.S. Government set up a civil suit against Latchford for stealing and smuggling ancient artifacts from Cambodia. In order to settle this suit, his daughter pledged to provide $12 million and the 17th bronze sculpture of Vietnam.


Douglas Latchford’s Indictment Points

Cambodian deputy Prime Minister Sok An shakes hands with British Khmer art collector Douglas Latchford. Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP via Getty Images.


Prosecution attorneys for the Southern District of New York in 2019 claimed Latchford made a profession out of trafficking. Also, on the Illegal trade in valuable Cambodian artifacts, frequently from actual excavation sites. In order to sell the antiques, he needed to forge the documents. Federal representatives spoke about the settlement connecting those crimes on Thursday.


“The late Douglas Latchford was a prolific dealer of stolen antiquities”, Ivan J. Arvelo, a special agent in charge with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement. “His complicity in numerous illicit transactions over several decades garnered him millions of dollars in payments from buyers and dealers in the United States. As part of this agreement, $12 million will be rightfully forfeited by his estate”, he added.


Two objects from Douglas Latchford’s collection, repatriated to Cambodia. Courtesy of the Royal Government of Cambodia.


According to the release, Latchford produced fake origin documents. He also lied on importing and shipment papers while bringing in looted artifacts. He gave his daughter savings when he passed away in 2020 prior to getting deported. Also, he left her more than 125 looted artworks. The court identified his daughter as Julia Copleston.

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The Cambodian Measures for Artifact Return

Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and a symbol of the Khmer Empire.


Julia Copleston returned his fifty million dollar fortune to Cambodia in 2021. ater that year, representatives of the Cambodian authorities requested the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York assess its holdings. In recent years, the Cambodian government played a key role in the discussion over reparation.


They took the tremendous measures to demand artworks from museums and institutions that were stolen from sacred and ancient places.They also asked for an an official assessment of about 45 “highly significant” Khmer Empire artifacts. The institution did what they asked. According to Cambodian officials as of August 2022, the Met still housed 33 of the pieces that Latchford had allegedly plundered.


Angkor Wat, Cambodia


The Denver Art Museum earlier consented to return four Cambodian artifacts with ties to Latchfor. Netscape creator James H. Clark handed over 35 Southeast Asian antiquities bought from the late dealer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.