New U.S. guidance that outlines the flow of embezzled proceeds and other illicit funds through galleries, auction houses and firms that trade paintings, sculptures and other valuable works of art amplifies longstanding calls to bolster oversight of the largely unregulated industry. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, published an advisory Friday that highlights how the art sector's keenness on confidentiality and reliance on shell companies and other intermediaries to conduct transactions enables U.S.-blacklisted parties to launder their criminal gains below the radar of governments and financial institutions alike. "The mobility, concealability and subjective value of artwork...
A pair of U.S.-blacklisted Russian billionaires purchased nearly $20 million worth of artworks through anonymous shell companies as well as American art dealers and auction houses, federal lawmakers have found.
The U.S. Treasury Department has accused a prominent Lebanese diamond dealer and a Congo-based money launderer of funneling tens of millions of dollars to the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, and buying high-end art works to evade sanctions.
The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued an advisory regarding sanctions risks in relation to dealings in high-value artwork associated with designated persons, including those on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.