Many industries have been pulled under the AML spotlight throughout the years. The banking industry is arguably the most popular, while others have been making side appearances where possible. However, UK Art Dealer Matthew Green has been charged in a $9 Million Picasso Money-Laundering Scheme and this revelation is seen as a game changer for the Art industry, just like the HSBC transgressions that triggered the US 1.2 billion dollar fine had been for the banking industry. Investigators allege that the proposed Picasso sale arranged by Mr.Green was connected to a $50 million stock scam whereby Green (son of prominent London dealer Richard Green and was a co-director of the Richard Green Gallery and, more recently, Mayfair Fine Art) is one of ten people and corporations named in the 29-page indictment. More information on this is available from Artnet News.
According to The Art Newspaper, the European Parliament has adopted the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering directive which will tighten regulation of the art market. “The regulations, which come into force in 2019, will cover all businesses selling works of art with transactions of €10,000 or more, irrespective of the payment method (credit card, bank transfer, cheque or cash), compelling traders to verify the identity of customers before making a transaction. Lower-value linked payments adding up to €10,000 or more will also now be covered. The existing regulations apply to any business trading in goods or making transactions of €10,000 or more in cash.”
Artnet News mentions opposition to this proposal which is completely understood as it would increase the amount of work and red tape required to process an art transaction, with the criticism that the threshold of €10,000 is set too low and the laws imposed are disproportionate to the risk posed. No matter the opposition, one cannot disagree that Art and Antiques are exposed to Money Laundering, and the sooner the regulations are implemented, the better it is for the industry as a whole in the long term.