Art galleries and museums must be topic to the identical money laundering-prevention guidelines as banks after they purchase and promote art, with further scrutiny positioned on gross sales by relations of elected officers like Hunter Biden, says a good-government group.
A proposed federal regulation — dubbed the “Hunter Biden Rule” — was submitted this week by the Virginia-based National Legal and Policy Center to the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
The effort was the NLPC’s response to an imminent sale of work, priced between $75,000 and $500,000, at a Manhattan art gallery by President Biden’s son.
Earlier this month the White House assured critics that it had a full-proof plan to prevent influence-peddling: require SoHo gallerist Georges Berges to hold the identities of the consumers secret from the White House. Critics have mentioned this plan is fatally flawed as a result of consumers’ names are certain to leak publicly.
At the identical time, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network doubled down on its dire warnings that art galleries and museums want to be extra vigilant. The company issued a name for proposals to assist them crack down on shady art offers, that are more and more being utilized by terrorists and legal enterprises to cover belongings and launder billions, the company mentioned.
Last yr, a Senate subcommittee on the art trade concluded that “the art industry is considered the largest, legal unregulated industry in the United States.” The report, entitled “The Art Industry and US Policies that Undermine Sanctions,” famous that in contrast to monetary establishments, the shopping for and promoting of high-priced art isn’t topic to the identical mandated “detailed procedures” to confirm a purchaser’s id and prevent money laundering.
Right now, the sale of art solely comes beneath scrutiny if a monetary establishment flags a priority with a transaction over $10,000, art sellers instructed The Post.
The subcommittee’s report, issued in July 2020, famous that China and North Korea had been laundering money by way of the sale of art and antiquities. In one other occasion, the subcommittee cited a Lebanese-based diamond seller and art dealer who laundered money by way of gross sales of Picasso and Warhol works in order to assist fund Hezbollah terrorism. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, which regulates US sanctions, alleged Nazem Said Ahmed hid his private wealth in high-end art in order to evade US sanctions.
The NLPC proposal calls on authorities to deal with galleries like monetary establishments, topic to rules beneath the Banking Secrecy Act, which might require them to help US authorities companies “to detect and prevent money laundering” in the shopping for and promoting of art. They additionally need gallery and museum employees to endure coaching in how to spot money laundering.
“Our best and brightest in the fight against terrorism, money-laundering and corruption have told us loud and clear that the high-end art world Hunter Biden is playing in is now the frontline in their battle,” mentioned Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s authorities integrity mission. “Is the White House listening?”