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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Muhammad Ali autograph forgeries stopped

Los Angeles - Muhammad Ali settled a lawsuit against several sports collectibles dealers to block the sale of artwork and other memorabilia relating to the former heavyweight champion, including a Qur'an given to him by a former president of Egypt.An injunction issued after the lawsuit was filed in 2003 prevented the sale of hundreds of lithographs which bore forged Ali signatures, along with other items, Ali's attorney, Ron DiNicola, said on Thursday in a statement.Among the items were the Qur'an Ali received from former Egypt president Gamal Abdul Nasser, and a walking stick from Mobutu Sese Seko, the former president of Zaire.The lithographs were copies of an artist's rendering of Ali's knockout of Sonny Liston in 1965. Handwriting and memorabilia experts determined that the signatures on the lithographs were forged, the statement said.
All the items were offered for sale without his knowledgeAli also inspected the items and confirmed that he had not signed them. All the items were offered for sale without his knowledge or permission.As part of the settlement reached this week, the lithographs will be destroyed and the companies will return to Ali the memorabilia in their possession. The parties agreed that other terms of the settlement will be confidential.Named in the suit, and included in the settlement, were Grey Flannel Auctions, B&E Collectibles, of New York; and roadway Ricks Strike Zone, of Florida.DiNicola said the memorabilia is expected to be included in the display of Ali memorabilia at the new Muhammad Ali Museum and Education Centre in Louisville, Kentucky, which is scheduled to open in November.

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