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CINOA, the international body of dealer associations for the art and antiques industry, has called for a “fundamental review of law making” following a recent US Treasury report into money laundering and terror finance.

CINOA says the Treasury “found the majority of the art market to be low risk with eight reports (five of which are funded by governments) unearthing very limited evidence of trafficking, money laundering or terrorism financing in the art market”.

Erika Bochereau, secretary general of CINOA, said: “Every major report investigating trafficking, terrorism financing or money laundering links with the art market since the war in Syria began has found very limited issues.

“Yet still the authorities target dealers, collectors and auction houses with wave after wave of damaging and unjust legislation. This has to stop.”

Among the laws that CINOA would like reviewed are the EU’s Anti Money Laundering update and the Import of Cultural Goods law. Both are yet to be fully implemented.

Bochereau added: “In light of the evidence, the new AML Regulation should not be extended, as planned, to the art market.

“Similarly, the EU should scrap the highly damaging import licensing regulation, as the UK did after analysing the damage it would inflict on the cultural landscape. At the very least the EU should scale down the scope and revise the implementation procedures which are, as planned, unworkable.”

‘Utterly unproven’

International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) chairman Vincent Geerling said: “The persistent claims that the art market is connected to billions of euros worth of trafficking, terrorist financing and money laundering are utterly unproven despite millions of euros of public money being spent over the past decade on numerous projects and studies attempting to prove this connection.”

Supporting CINOA’s call for changes is the American Council for the Preservation of Cultural Property (ACPCP), Authentic Tribal Art Dealers’ Association (ATADA), Committee for Cultural Policy, Drouot, European Federation of Auctioneers (EFA), Global Heritage Alliance and the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA).