(CHRISTIAN NEWS) -- The popular arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby has agreed to forfeit over 5,500 ancient artifacts and pay $3 million in a civil settlement after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint asserting that the items had been illegally shipped into the country from a dealer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company denies any intentional wrongdoing, but regrets its trust in the dealers and shippers of the goods.
“We have accepted responsibility and learned a great deal,” said Hobby Lobby President Steve Green in a statement. “Our entire team is committed to the highest standards for investigating and acquiring these items. Our passion for the Bible continues, and we will do all that we can to support the efforts to conserve items that will help illuminate and enhance our understanding of this Great Book.”
According to reports, in 2009, Green traveled to the UAE to review a number of cuneiform tablets and other artifacts as the company had begun acquiring historical and biblical pieces for its collection. As previously reported, the Greens plan to open the Museum of the Bible in Washington in November—a 430,000-square-foot facility that will house one of the world’s largest collections of ancient biblical scrolls, codices, papyrus fragments and other historical artifacts.
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