Magazine spread of ‘most beautiful house in America’ conceals allegedly stolen Cambodian relics

Photos featured in Architectural Digest stories on the homes of the billionaire Lindemann family offer clues to investigators struggling to reclaim lost cultural heritage and shed light on the secretive private antiquities trade.

“Some of these statues are of enormous historical and cultural importance to Cambodia and should be repatriated as soon as possible,” said Phoeurng Sackona, the country’s minister of culture and fine arts, who is leading the nation’s efforts to reclaim thousands of lost artifacts.

“It’s not just art,” said Sopheap Meas, an archaeologist working with the Cambodian team. “We believe that each of these holds the souls of our ancestors.”

Agents from the antiquities unit at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have contacted the Lindemann family in recent years about its Khmer collection, and there is no indication that the family plans to return the statues, according to two people close to the efforts who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the work is ongoing.

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