American actor Nicolas Cage told reporters that he has not yet received payment for the dinosaur, which he bought at auction but was forced to return to Mongolia for smuggling.
70 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton purchased by Nicholas Cage became known to Mongolians as the "Bataar" Tyrannosaurus, and a few years ago dinosaur bones were brought to Mongolia in a grand manner.
In an interview with GQ magazine in April, Cage said, “I bought that dinosaur skull from a legitimate auction. In 2007, he paid $ 276,000. I never knew there were dinosaur bones stolen from Mongolia. In 2014, when the Mongolian government filed a lawsuit, I gave the dinosaur bones. So far, no payment has been received and no money has been returned. The money must be given to me by someone who organized the auction, or he must go to jail. ”
Nicolas Cage won the auction in 2007 to compete with DiCaprio for the "Bataar" Tyrannosaurus bone.
However, in 2014, he was told by US law enforcement that the bones had been smuggled into the United States. However, Cage and the auction house were not charged with any crime.
The skeleton, standing 8 feet tall and stretching 24 feet in length, also was incorrectly described as various fossil reptile bones and other broken bones. A rare skeleton of a Tarbosaurus bataar was sold for $1.05 million before custody was granted to Mongolia.
Earlier in 2012, the skeleton had been listed in an auction catalogue of Texas-based Heritage Auctions, Inc. at an estimated value between $950,000 to $1.5 million.Around the same time, Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia hired a private attorney who obtained a temporary restraining order from the Dallas County District Court to prevent the sale of the skeleton."At stake are the heritage, history and culture of a sovereign nation," attorneys for Tsakhia said in the restraining order filing.
The auction house disregarded the restraining order, and it was sold to an undisclosed buyer in New York for $1.05 million on May 20, 2012, contingent upon the outcome of any court proceedings instituted on behalf of the Mongolian government.
In the following months, investigations by U.S. authorities and paleontologists determined the skeleton was from the western Gobi Desert in Mongolia, uncovered between 1995 and 2005.
The U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York filed action to seek forfeit of the bones, which were eventually seized by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations.Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said , "Cultural artifacts are part of the fabric of a country's history, and it is immensely satisfying to play a role in their return."