Auctioneer Christie's fined for putting undocumented ivory on sale

Tue May 24, 2016 12:40pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Auctioneer Christie's has been fined 3,250 pounds ($4,750) for selling elephant ivory without the correct documentation, London police said on Tuesday.

Last month, Christie's offered for sale an ivory tusk mounted on silver with a guide price of 1,200 to 1,800 pounds, a police statement said.

At Hammersmith magistrates' court this week it admitted selling elephant ivory in contravention of Article 8 of Council Regulation, under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The 63-year-old owner of the piece of unworked ivory has been charged with offering it for sale, the police statement added.

"The tusk in this case was mounted on silver but was basically a raw, unmodified elephant tusk and therefore should not have been offered for sale without the correct documentation," said Constable Rowena Roberts, wildlife officer for Kensington and Chelsea borough in London.

"These laws were established to protect the world's remaining elephants," she added.

Christie's said in a statement that this was an isolated incident. "We believe that the honorable response was to accept the charge as made.

"Christie's unequivocally condemns the slaughter of elephants for illegal ivory and will not sell modern ivory, or unworked tusks of any age."

Christie's is owned by French retail magnate Francois Pinault's holding company Artemis SA.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Kate Holton)

Christie's traders hold phones during an auction of American Furniture and Folk Art and John James Audubon's 'The Birds of America' at Christie's auction in New York January 20, 2012. REUTERS/ Kena Betancur/File photo