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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FinCEN issues antiquities and art warning

Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FinCEN Financial Crimes Anti-Money Laundering Bank Secrecy Act Of Interest to Non-US Persons Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020

Federal Issues

On March 9, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory notice alerting financial institutions with existing Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) obligations about illicit activity associated with trade in antiquities and art. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act) was enacted in January as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, and made significant changes to BSA and AML laws, including amending the definition of “financial institution” under the BSA to include persons “engaged in the trade of antiquities.” Among other things, FinCEN’s advisory notice updates financial institutions on AML Act measures related to the regulation of antiquities, noting in particular that the Department of Treasury, in coordination with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney General, and Homeland Security, “will perform a study of the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism through the trade in works of art.” The notice further warns financial institutions that crimes related to the trade of antiquities “may involve their institution” and could include the “sale of stolen or counterfeit objects,” as well as money laundering and sanctions violations. The advisory notice also provides suspicious activity report filing instructions related to trade in antiquities and art.

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