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U.S. Legislation 2018-06-06T13:39:50+00:00

United States Government legislation is an important tool to combat the looting and trafficking of illicit antiquities as the United States is the world’s largest market for art and antiquities. Passage of efforts to stem the flow of trafficked antiquities is imperative to maintain U.S. leadership and influence in the global battle against heritage destruction.

A Bill to Apply the Bank Secrecy Act to Dealers in Art or Antiquities (H.R. 5886)

The Illicit Art and Antiquities Trafficking Protection Act (H.R. 5886) — which Congressman Luke Messer introduced to the House of Representatives on May 18, 2018 — will help to close the $26.6 billion American art market to money laundering, terrorist financing, and other crimes.

This bill will remove art and antiquities dealers’ current exemption from the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which requires businesses “whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal… matters” and other financial institutions to assist the U.S. government in detecting and preventing financial crimes. Dealers in precious metals, stones, and jewels are already subject to the BSA, as are sellers of automobiles, planes, and boats, casinos, pawnbrokers, real estate professionals, and travel agencies. But to date, the multi-billion art market has been excluded— despite warnings from economists, law enforcement, and prosecutors that criminals are taking advantage of this loophole.

Congressman Messer’s measure to amend the BSA is now under review by the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the economy, as well as efforts to combat terrorist financing.

You can follow the bill’s progress here.

The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 1493/ S. 1887)

DC - Capitol Building - Katie (2) (1)The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act—which was signed into law by President Obama on May 9, 2016—is a critical first step towards fulfilling the United States’ obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 and 2253. These resolutions were passed with unanimous support in 2015.

The legislation restricts the import of Syrian antiquities illegally removed from the country since March 15, 2011, building on restrictions in place for Iraqi antiquities since 2004. It additionally provides for additional measures to safeguard cultural heritage at risk from “political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters.” Passage of this legislation signals the United States’ intention to take the lead in the global fight against cultural racketeering, while cutting off a major source of demand for illicit antiquities. In addition, the current legislation allows for the import of otherwise restricted Syrian antiquities for “protection purposes,” so long as doing so would not contribute to illicit trafficking or terrorist financing.

Our Media on U.S. Legislation

Antiquities Coalition Applauds House Financial Services Committee For Working To Close Money Laundering Loophole

The Antiquities Coalition is proud to support the Illicit Art and Antiquities Trafficking Protection Act (H.R. 5886) — which will help to close the $26.6 billion American art market to money laundering, terrorist financing, and other crimes.

By | June 6th, 2018|

The Antiquities Coalition Applauds Congressional Action to Counter Illicit Trade in Blood Antiquities

The Antiquities Coalition Applauds Congressional Action to Counter Illicit Trade in Blood Antiquities Bill’s Passage Advances U.S. Leadership in the Fight Against Cultural Crimes and Terrorist Financing WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2016): Yesterday, the House [...]

By | April 27th, 2016|