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.