FinCEN informs financial institutions of developments related to trade in antiquities and art

The US treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a notice to inform financial institutions of the latest developments to prevent money laundering and report suspicious activity related to trade in art and antiquities.

The notice covers new measures in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act) and contains specific instructions for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to trade in antiquities and art.

New AML provisions

The new AML Act amends the definition of “financial institution” under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to include persons “engaged in the trade of antiquities” and directs FinCEN to make sure that relevant entities are aware of and implement the new regulations.

The act also requires the treasury department alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the attorney general’s office, and the department of homeland security, to perform a study of the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism through the art trade.

The study will include an analysis of, among other things, which markets should be subject to regulations and the degree to which the regulations, if any, should focus on high-value trade in works of art, and on the need to identify the actual purchasers of such works, in addition to other persons engaged in the art trade.

Reminder for financial institutions

The notice reminds financial institutions with existing BSA obligations of the need for reporting of suspicious activity and that they should be aware that illicit activity associated with the trade in antiquities and art may involve their institutions.

Crimes relating to antiquities and art may include looting or theft, the illicit excavation of archaeological items, smuggling, and the sale of stolen or counterfeit items the notice says.

FinCEN’s Notice on Antiquities and Art can be found here.


Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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