Nicolas Cage to give back stolen Mongolian fossil

Nicolas Cage to give back stolen Mongolian fossil

Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage is set to return a National Treasure to the Mongolian government after it was revealed the rare dinosaur skull he bought was actually stolen.

Cage bought the skull of the Tyrannosaurus bataar in 2007 from a gallery in Beverley Hills for NZ$403,000 and it came with a certificate of authenticity, the BBC reports.

According to reports at the time, Cage outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the item.

Neither the gallery nor Cage are being accused of wrongdoing, and authorities say he voluntarily agreed to hand over the fossil once he learned of the circumstances.

Cage's publicists says Homeland Security contacted him in 2014 saying they thought the skull might have been stolen.

A subsequent investigation found it had been taken illegally from Mongolia.

A civil forfeiture complaint was made by the US attorney in New York, Preet Bharara to take back possession of the skull.

More than a dozen Mongolian fossils have been recovered by Mr Bharara's office since 2012 including three Tyrannosaurus bataar skulls.

The ancient animal was related to the more well-known Tyrannosaurus Rex and lived around 70 million years ago.

Mongolia made the exports of dinosaur fossils illegal in 1924.

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