A specialist in anti-money laundering found the average penalty issued by HMRC for companies and individuals designated High Value Dealers across the luxury sectors rocketed 166% from £484 to £1290.
High Value Dealers are those working in sectors including cars, jewellery, planes, art and antiques who accept cash payments of more than €15,000.
Specialist Fortytwo Data said that although the value of fines had risen in the 2016-17 financial year, the number of fines overall dropped 23% from 1153 to 886.
The figures include a wide range of businesses and there are no specific numbers for the art and antiques sector.
Anti-money laundering defences
British Antiques Dealers’ Association secretary general Mark Dodgson said the organisation was not aware of any fines having been levied against its members. But he added: “The information serves as a good means of reminding the trade of the need to register as a High Value Dealer if they wish to accept more than €10,000 in cash.”
BADA offers guidance documents for members, prepared by the British Art Market Federation, on what dealers should be aware of.
Julian Dixon, CEO of Fortytwo Data, said: “I hope the dramatic rise in the value of fines is a sign that HMRC is getting tough on the weak links in our money laundering defences. Businesses who ignore their money laundering responsibilities should not expect a light touch.”