On March 9, 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a notice (“Notice”) to inform financial institutions about new provisions in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AMLA”) relating to the illicit trade in antiquities and art. As the Notice highlights, the AMLA amended the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) to apply to dealers in antiquities and directed the Secretary of the Treasury, acting through the Director of FinCEN, to issue proposed rules to carry out the amendments. The AMLA also directed the Secretary of the Treasury to perform a study of the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism through the trade in works of art. The Notice emphasizes the heightened risk of the antiquities and art markets being exploited to launder money and finance terrorism and warns financial institutions with existing BSA obligations that illicit activity associated with the trade in antiquities and art may involve their institutions. Finally, the Notice provides specific instructions to financial institutions for filing a Suspicious Activity Report (“SAR”) related to trade in antiquities and art.
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