Today we are very pleased to welcome guest blogger Tess Davis, who is the Executive Director of the Antiquities Coalition. Tess, a lawyer and archaeologist by training, oversees the organization’s work to fight cultural racketeering worldwide, as well as its award-winning think tank in Washington. She has been a legal consultant for the U.S. and foreign governments and works with both the art world and law enforcement to keep looted antiquities off the market. She writes and speaks widely on these issues — having been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Foreign Policy, and top scholarly journals — and featured in documentaries in America and Europe. She teaches cultural heritage law at Johns Hopkins University, and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2015, the Royal Government of Cambodia knighted Tess for her work to recover the country’s plundered treasures, awarding her the rank of Commander in the Royal Order of the Sahametrei.
We reached out to Tess because Congress passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”) on January 1, 2021. This sprawling legislation in part applies the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) to antiquities dealers by defining them as “financial institutions” – and suggests that the BSA later may apply to the art trade as well by requiring a study on money laundering and the art trade. We have blogged repeatedly on the fascinating intersection between the art and antiquities industry and BSA/AML compliance and money laundering concerns. This also is a topic that has garnered significant media interest, including in a recent article in the New York Times. For ease of reference, the AMLA’s requirements for factors to be considered for forthcoming regulations on the antiquities trade, and for the factors relevant to the study on the art trade, are described here.
The Antiquities Coalition convened the Financial Crimes Task Force; their materials, including a detailed joint report, Reframing U.S. Policy on the Art Market: Recommendations for Combating Financial Crimes, are available here. Antiquities, art and money laundering also was the subject of a panel at PLI’s May 2021 Anti-Money Laundering Conference, at which Tess was a panelist.
This blog post again takes the form of a Q&A session, in which Tess responds to questions posed by Money Laundering Watch about potential AML regulations regarding the antiquities and art markets. We hope you enjoy this discussion on this important topic. – Peter Hardy and Alex Levy
Continue Reading Congress Regulates the Antiquities Market – and Perhaps the Art Market – for AML Compliance: A Guest Blog.