Michael Martin, head of the forensic and anti-money-laundering services at Deloitte Luxembourg, told the Art Business Conference in London that art “obviously lends itself to money laundering.”
He explained that European financial regulators are starting to clamp down on the art market to make it transparent and reduce its appeal to money launderers. Three months ago, the Swiss Money Laundering Reporting Office called for tougher regulation of the market.
Mr Martin told the conference that art is increasingly attractive to money launderers because they are finding it harder to invest in other assets, such as property and forex. This is thought to have contributed to the dramatic price rises in fine art markets.
His conclusions appear logical. But they must also be viewed as a warning to anyone involved in art markets. Care must be taken to ensure that those who deal in art do not become unwitting figures in a money laundering operation. The right legal advice can ensure art dealers know how to carry out due diligence to avoid such a pitfall.