USA’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a notice to inform financial institutions about the provisions about antiquities and art related trade in the country’s AML Act of 2020. This notice informs the stakeholders about select sources of information related to existing illegal activity in antiquities and art. It also provides specific instructions for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to trade in antiquities and art.
USA’s amended AML Act includes persons involved in antiquities trade as financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). This brings it under the purview of FinCEN as well. FinCEN has highlighted that crimes in the antiquities and art sector may include theft and smuggling, illegal excavation of archaeological items, and sale of stolen or fake pieces. They may also include money laundering and international terrorism.
Financial institutions subject to BSA obligations must heed any illegal activity in antiquities and art trade through their institutions. FinCEN also requires the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to perform a study of ML/TF in art trade. The aim of the study is to understand which markets must be regulated. Financial institutions must also engage in adequate SAR reporting to detect and stop money laundering and other crimes related to antiquities and art trade.
Source: FinCEN, USA