Anti-money laundering regulation and the art market

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Following concerns that the art market is being used to launder criminal money and fund terrorist activities, measures have recently been introduced to subject the market to the anti-money laundering (AML) regime-such as the EU 5th Money Laundering Directive (2018) and the US Illicit Art and Antiquities Trafficking Prevention Bill (2018). The expansion of the AML regime to include art dealers has been attributed to the failure of regulation and the vulnerabilities inherent in the market to laundering. This paper considers vulnerabilities to money laundering and examines the types of regulation that apply in the art market. The paper then goes on to analyse the application of AML criminal law and preventive measures in the UK context, demonstrating that art dealers can be criminally prosecuted for engaging in normal commercial activities. Even if dealers do comply with AML reporting rules, such compliance can significantly impact upon their business. These are important considerations given the government's emphasis on striking a balance between the burdens on business and deterring money laundering activities. Drawing upon the AGILE analytical framework, we remain sceptical about the continued expansion of the AML regime.




Hufnagel, S., & King, C. (2020). Anti-money laundering regulation and the art market. Legal Studies, 40(1), 131–150.

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