- Senate Report Scrutinizes Money-Laundering Issues In the Art Market, And May Signal Congressional Willingness To Increase Regulation of Art Deals
Last month, this blog wrote about several forfeiture complaints recently filed by the United States Department of Justice seeking to recover the illicit proceeds of the 1MDB scandal. The complaints sought, among other things, the recovery of several high value works of art that had allegedly been used to launder the misappropriated 1MDB funds. We noted that “[t]hese forfeiture complaints serve as a reminder that high-end art transactions are often viewed by white collar criminals as an effective method of money laundering.” And now, a recently-released Senate report shows that Congress is taking these concerns very seriously and may soon take up legislation cracking down on money laundering in the art world.
- Artist’s Lawsuit Highlights Need For Caution In Using Digital Images of Artworks
A recently filed lawsuit by the artist Pat Lipsky highlights an often-overlooked risk for New York galleries and auction houses exhibiting works online: running afoul of New York’s Artist’s Authorship Rights Act (“AARA”). That law—a precursor to the federal Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”) of 1990—gives artists in New York the legal right to claim or disclaim authorship of a work of art, and object to its display, publication or reproduction in an altered, defaced, mutilated, or modified form that could damage the artist’s reputation. Unlike VARA, AARA protects not just the artist’s interests in the work itself, but also any reproductions of the work, even if no physical change has been made to the original work.
- Civil Forfeiture Complaints Highlight Ongoing Risk of Money Laundering in High-End Art Transactions
An ongoing challenge for art dealers, galleries, and auction houses, is guarding against the use of art transactions as a means of laundering the proceeds of criminal activity. Money laundering is a federal crime that involves disguising the proceeds of a crime by integrating those proceeds into the legitimate financial system, often through a series of complex and confusing transactions designed to conceal the origin, source and ownership of the funds. When money laundering is successful, it becomes difficult to distinguish illicit proceeds from legitimate financial resources, thus permitting funds to be used by criminals without detection. Purchasing art is one way to conceal the source of illicit funds. Several recently filed civil forfeiture complaints from the U.S. Department of Justice highlight the ongoing need to remain vigilant about money laundering in the context of art transactions.
- Judge Rejects Cady Noland’s Final Attempt To Sue Over The “Restoration” of Her Work
This blog has written before about acclaimed conceptual artist Cady Noland, who has a reputation for being particular about how her works are installed, maintained, exhibited, and sold. As our previous posts explain, she has even, on more than one occasion, disavowed an artwork she created, prompting litigation. Now, a federal judge has issued a ruling in Noland’s most recent legal skirmish, dismissing her attempt to bring copyright infringement claims related to the restoration of one of her artworks.