art, money laundering, bank secrecy act, illicit art and antiquities trafficking prevention act


As high-net worth individuals have increasingly viewed art as a method of diversifying their portfolios, prices in the high-end global art market have exploded in the past several years. At the same time, investors have developed new methods for accessing art’s liquidity, such as art lending services and exchanges. While the changing character of art towards an asset class has opened the door to new investment opportunities, it has also left the art market particularly vulnerable to money laundering schemes. Existing characteristics of the art market, including a lack of uniform record-keeping standards among dealers and the speculative nature of art, also make it hospitable to this crime. In light of the art market’s vulnerability to money laundering, the need for legislation specifically addressing the industry seems clear. Yet, professional art intermediaries raise legitimate concerns about the compliance burdens and loss of confidentiality that accompany a regulatory scheme. This Note addresses the existing tension between potential anti-money laundering legislation and art dealers’ interests, and proposes regulatory solutions to prevent money laundering through art without disrupting the art market.