Berlin - Zahi Hawass, the flamboyant head of Egypt's antiquities authority, says he will offer documentary proof that the fabled bust of Queen Nefertiti does not belong to Germany, a Berlin newspaper was set to report on Sunday. Hawass, whose media savvy has put Egypt's archaeological treasures on front pages round the world, has vocally called in the past for the return of the bust, found in a tomb nearly a century ago and then claimed by a Berlin millionaire who financed the excavation.

The newspaper, Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, quoted him as saying, "I believe we have good arguments for her return."
He said he would produce documents showing the bust's export after its re-discovery in 1912 was illegal.

Hawass, whose personal website shows him in his trademark broad-brimmed hat, told the German paper he knew of 5,000 "important" Egyptian artefacts in foreign collections, but added that only five were of "unique importance to our culture."

One was Nefertiti, a limestone carving with a plaster and paint finish. Though now one-eyed, she is sometimes dubbed the most beautiful woman in the world.

German officials insist Egypt has never formally applied for the return of the bust, which is exhibited in the Pergamon Museum in the heart of Berlin. The museum says the financial terms of the 1912 dig provided for the finds to be shared between Egypt and the Germans.