Friday, 15 June 2012

New Money-laundering Rules Would Mean More Work for Dealers

Proposed changes to EU money-laundering legislation could mean that more dealers will need to comply with stricter guidelines when accepting cash from buyers.
At the moment, galleries and auction houses must register as high-value dealers if they accept cash transactions of €15,000 or more. In a report published in April on the application of the anti-money-laundering directive, the European Commission recommended lowering the threshold [...] The report says that clearer guidelines should be drawn up on procedures for checking buyers and companies. These could include verifying the buyer’s identity—for example, by checking passports and utility bills—but it also suggests that the art trade takes a more proactive approach and asks more questions about the nature of businesses. The trade should have policies to “prevent the business being used for money laundering or terrorist financing”.
Of course they are already moaning. Pierre Valentin, art law specialist at Withers said that "lowering the threshold will not make life more difficult for money launderers” (really?) and - same old story - this will "make business more difficult for the art trade. It is the smaller dealers in antiques and lower-end fine art who accept cash: and they’re the ones suffering most in this economic climate” (he forgot to say "mom-and-pop").
The European Commission is asking for comments on its suggestions.

Riah Pryor, 'Money-laundering rules mean more work for dealers', The Art Newspaper Issue 236, 13 June 2012

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