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US government sues to force return of $1M rare dinosaur fossil to Mongolia
NEW YORK (AP) ' The U.S. government has filed a lawsuit in New York to force the return to Mongolia of a dinosaur fossil worth more than $1 million.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) says the nearly complete Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton was allegedly stolen from Mongolia and brought to the U.S. with false claims that it originated in Great Britain and was worth $15,000. It was then sold at auction for more than $1 million.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, names Heritage Auctions as a defendant. Company cofounder Jim Halperin would not comment because he said he hasn't seen the lawsuit yet.
Experts determined that the skeleton was discovered in the Gobi Desert between 1995 and 2005. Federal authorities say the remains are of tremendous cultural and historic significance to the people of Mongolia.