AC Founder and Chairman Deborah Lehr Advocates to Protect Art Market From Money Launderers in Op-ed
August 21, 2020
A 150-page report released by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations earlier this month revealed that two Russian billionaires—construction and energy magnates Arkady and Boris Rotenberg—exploited the $28.3 billion American art market to skirt U.S. sanctions and launder no less than $18 million.
What’s more, when it comes to taking advantage of the American art market’s lack of laws and regulations, this pair is far from alone: According to what one subcommittee staffer told Politico reporters, the findings published through this inquiry are likely to represent “only the tip of the iceberg.”
Antiquities Coalition Founder and Chairman Deborah Lehr reflected on the investigation in an August 8 op-ed for The Hill, highlighting how the PSI now echoes the Antiquities Coalition and other legitimate art advocates—not only in labelling the art market as “the largest legal, unregulated market in the United States,” but also in recommending that Congress amend the Bank Secrecy Act so as to regulate high-value art transactions.
“For our national security and global standing, we must add the multibillion-dollar art industry to the community of private-sector combatants in the battle against money-laundering and terrorist financing,” Lehr urged.