Grossman LLP | Art Law Blog | Forfeiture
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  • ​Civil Forfeiture Complaints Highlight Ongoing Risk of Money Laundering in High-End Art Transactions
    07/20/2020
    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.