U.S. authorities will impose new anti-money laundering rules on the art and antiquity market, which is believed to have been frequently used for concealing the origins of illegally obtained money and even for terror financing. The recently published notice informs financial institutions about;
- The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the AML Act), efforts related to trade in antiquities and art.
- Select sources of information about existing illicit activity related to antiquities and art, and;
- Provides specific instructions for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to trade in antiquities and art.
FinCEN’s notice reminds financial institutions of obligations under Section 6110(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, which amends the Bank Secrecy Act’s definition of a financial institution to include persons “engaged in the trade of antiquities.” FinCEN warned that crimes relating to antiquities and works of art might involve financial institutions with existing Bank Secrecy Act obligations.
FinCEN included instructions for SAR filers to identify whether a suspicious activity relates to antiquities, art or both, and to provide details regarding (i) the objects connected to the financial transactions, (ii) the actual purchasers or sellers of the property, (iii) the volume and dollar amount of the transactions, and (iv) the location of any reported individual’s or entity’s operations. FinCEN emphasised that, for stolen art or antiquities, filers should describe the stolen item and indicate whether photographs are available.
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