U.S. wants artifact bought by Hobby Lobby back in Iraq

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(CNN NEWSOURCE) – Federal authorities want a rare, ancient tablet bought by a craft store chain to be returned to Iraq.

Federal authorities filed a civil complaint this week to forfeit the “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet” to U.S. authorities because they said it was brought into the country illegally.

Law enforcement seized it last year from the Museum of the Bible.

Hobby Lobby, whose president is also chairman of the museum, bought the tablet in 2014 to display it at the museum.

The tablet is inscribed with a portion of the epic poem believed to be one of the world’s oldest works of literature.

Both Hobby Lobby and the museum said Christie’s Auction House lied to them about the artifact’s origins.

The store is now suing them for fraud and breach of contract.

Christie’s said the illicit activity pre-dated their involvement and suggestion that they knew about the illegal import is “unsubstantiated.”

If the tablet is forfeited to the U.S., a division in the DOJ will decide where it will be returned.

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