In this article published in the Winter 2020 edition of the Art & Cultural Heritage Law Newsletter from the American Bar Association Section of International Law, G. Elaine Wood and Jerry Barbanel discuss the attention surrounding the global art market’s potential exposure to financial crime, as the high price of artwork has attracted sophisticated money launderers as well as legitimate collectors.
As of January 2020, the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive imposes new legal and regulatory requirements for art transactions valued at 10,000 Euros or more. New legislation proposed in the US may follow in short order.
Anti-money laundering (AML) requirements have been in place for decades for financial institutions and companies that engage in the money services business, but criminals are continually searching for alternative ways to launder illicit gains. Art is an attractive target because its value is subjective, it is relatively easy to transport, and at least until recently, it could be bought or sold anonymously.
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