Egypt to sue UK auctioneer over King Tut statue

Egypt has disclosed plans to sue London's renowned auction house Christie's for auctioning a sculpture of ancient pharaoh Tutankhamun last week.

The Egyptian government had pointed to the possibility the bust was illegally smuggled from the southern city of Luxor and demanded that Christie's freeze the auction.

But the auction house went ahead with the auction, and the relic was sold for about 6 million dollars on July 4.

The government issued a statement, expressing "deep discontent" over what it said was the "unprofessional way" in which the bust and other Egyptian artifacts were sold without the provision of ownership documents or proof that they left Egypt "in a legitimate manner."
It said it has hired a British law firm to file a lawsuit against Christie's demanding that the sculpture be returned.

Following the auctioning of the King Tut sculpture, Cairo has strongly demanded the British government prevent exports of historic artifacts brought into Britain.

It has also called on Interpol and UNESCO to support its efforts for repatriation of the sculpture.