James H. Clark, a Silicon Valley billionaire, has handed over more than 35, possibly stolen works from his collection to the police. The collection included antiquities from Cambodia and Southeast Asia. The entrepreneur purchased them through Douglas A. J. Latchford, a respected specialist in the market.

  A Silicon Valley billionaire

James H. Clark purchased the collection between 2003 and 2008, at the urging of Douglas A. J. Latchford. The dealer presented him with forged provenance and customs documents. He cleverly concealed the fact that the antiques were stolen. The billionaire, when the federal police presented him with evidence voluntarily surrendered the works. The collection included a massive statue of the god Ganesha and bronze statues of Buddha and Vishnu.

Dishonest expert

Back in 2019, Douglas A. J. Latchford was charged with smuggling seized Cambodian antiquities and falsifying documentation. According to a release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Mr. Latchford, a dual citizen of Thailand and the United Kingdom, falsified invoices and shipping documents to facilitate the sale of looted artefacts to well-known auction houses, dealers and museums. Douglas A. J. Latchford died on 2 August 2020 in Bangkok, the police investigation continues.  


The return of the stolen works in question is part of a major campaign by the Cambodian government to recover hundreds of Khmer-era works that once adorned the country's temples and shrines. Most of them were looted during the civil war and national upheavals that rocked the country from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

Added 2022-01-29 in by Alicja Graczyk

Related departments