In January 2021, U.S. Congress passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020, in which art and antiquities dealers are bracing themselves for more stringent federal oversight.
It was reported in a New York Times article that "Senate investigators found gaps in the policies the art market now has in place. Auction houses and dealers were cited for having allowed two Russian oligarchs, close to President Vladimir V. Putin and under sanctions, to buy and sell art using shell companies fronted by an art adviser. The subcommittee concluded that the auction houses, in transactions between 2011 and 2019, did not determine who the real owners were despite professing to have adopted safeguards."
The art market become a “regulated” sector across Europe and the UK for anti-money laundering purposes with the implementation of the 5MLD. On 28 June 2021, HMRC published guidance on "Understanding money laundering risks and taking action for art market participants".
Ince has published articles related to this topic on its AML webpage. Information of AML and the art market and other sectors captured by 5MLD can be found here.
Please note this article was written by Annette Fong, who is no longer with Ince. If you would like any advice in this regard, please contact Julia Dao.
“Secrecy, anonymity and a lack of regulation create an environment ripe for laundering money and evading sanctions,” said the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations