This ongoing exemption from standard financial regulatory laws and oversight, which now cover all industries of comparable risk and size, is a documented and growing threat to our national security and integrity, as well as the vast majority of legitimate collectors, dealers, auction houses, and museums. Unless and until the U.S. public and private sectors close these loopholes, they will leave the world’s largest economy wide open to money launderers, artifact traffickers, drug smugglers, kleptocrats, oligarchs, terrorists, and the many other criminals proven to have exploited the art market’s weaknesses.
On January 1, 2021, Congress enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the “AML Act”) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2021. The AML Act, among other things, removes antiquities dealers’ current exemption from what are now standard AML laws and regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
In response to the September 23, 2021 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM 1506-AB50) by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is seeking to implement Section 6110 of the AML Act , we shared a comment with FinCEN aiming to provide answers and recommendations to help to cement America’s standing as a leader in the fight against financial crimes. The co-chairs of the FCTF also submitted a comment.
The Antiquities Coalition’s Financial Crimes Task Force Chairs John Byrne, Dennis Lormel, Michael Loughnane, and Tess Davis, in addition to Project Director Liz Fraccaro, spoke at a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Community of Practice Staff Briefing on November 10, 2020. The briefing was presented by an internal community of practice within GAO, which is a learning group aimed at information sharing for those working on matters pertaining to illicit finance. The audience consisted of analysts, methodologists, and general counsel from across GAO mission teams.
The chairs discussed the Antiquities Coalition’s nonpartisan, multi-stakeholder initiative, the Financial Crimes Task Force. The Task Force was convened to develop solutions to protect the art market from criminal misuse, and published its initial findings in a September report, Reframing U.S. Policy on the Art Market: Recommendations for Combating Financial Crimes. The report puts forward 44 concrete recommendations to combat financial crimes in the art market, aimed at the government, art market, financial sector, and international community.
This FAQ answers frequently asked questions on the new law, why it is needed, and what comes next.