Thursday, 23 September 2021

US Antiquities Dealers Gonna Squeal

The US Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued a notice to solicit public comment on a range of questions related to the implementation of amendments to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regarding the trade in antiquities in the light of new anti-money-laundering legislation. I am sure this will provoke widespread squeals of denial in at least one quarter...
The problem here is the phrasing: Section 6110 of the AML Act amended the BSA by including as a type of financial institution a person engaged in the trade of antiquities, including an advisor, consultant, or any other person who engages as a business in the solicitation or the sale of antiquities. [...] The trade in antiquities may be exploited by money launderers and terrorist financiers to evade detection by law enforcement and to launder their illicit funds through the U.S. financial system. Terrorist organizations, transnational criminal networks, and other malign actors may also seek to exploit antiquities to transfer value to acquire new sources of funds, evade detection, and launder proceeds from their illicit activities. Some terrorist groups have generated revenue from permitting or facilitating the illegal extraction or trafficking of antiquities in territories where they operate.
Until the antiquities market can clean itself up, eliminate the cowboys openly selling enormous numbers of unpapered items with minimal collection histories, then there is absolutely no denying that "may be" and protests of "well, I do not!" really have no meaning in the real-world context.

One wonders why the antiquities (sorry, the "respectable antiquities market") does not want to see their industry cleaned up as much as they would want to see other ones cleaned up too. Why do they feel they need to be an exception? 

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