Certain types of businesses fall within the regulated sector for EU anti-money laundering, such as banks, wider financial institutions, law firms, accountancy businesses and estate agents.  Luckily for the British art market, the British government has not invited auction houses and art/antique dealers to join the club.  Auction houses and art/antique dealers in other EU Member States have not been so lucky. 

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The UK Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (“Regulations 2017”) which implement the EU’s Fourth Money Laundering Directive (“4MLD”) came into force on 26 June 2017, repealing the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (“Regulations 2007”). The 4MLD seeks to give effect to the international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing developed by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), an inter-governmental body founded on the initiative of G7. Please click here for more information.

The UK is traditionally ahead of the EU curve on anti-money laundering (“AML”) legislation and the UK government is likely to keep leading the way on AML following the country’s departure from the European Union.

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In a recent judgment, a Milan Court rejected a claim for the loss of value of a sculpture loaned by an Italian public entity to a Belgian museum arising from the alleged damage caused by a fall of the sculpture whilst on loan to the Belgian museum. The judgment is a reminder that in the absence of a detailed condition report, the alleged damage can be difficult to prove.

 

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On 27 February 2017, a New York State Court held that Lisa Jacobs, a fine art dealer and private curator, breached the fiduciary duties she owed to the seller of an artwork entitled Future Sciences Versus the Man by artist Jean Michael Basquiat (the “Work”). As a result of her disloyalty, the Court ordered Jacobs to pay to the seller the $1 million in secret profits plus $50,000 compensation she earned for the sale of the Work along with interests, costs and disbursements.

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On 9 March 2017, a French High Court held that a 1988 sculpture by appropriation artist Jeff Koons, Naked, infringed on the copyright of the late photographer, Jean-Francois Bauret.  The claim was brought by Bauret’s widow, Claude Bauret-Allard, against Koons for copying her husband’s work and against the Centre Pompidou in Paris for using an image of the work in the advertising material for their Koons retrospective in 2014.

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On 22 November 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an initial investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices in relation to the supply of auction services in the UK. In its announcement, the CMA stated that the investigation is focusing on suspected exclusionary and restrictive pricing practices, including most favoured nation provisions (MFNs) in respect of online sales.

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Art Restitution: Nazi Looted Art

Written by Published in Law

The US National Archives estimates that upwards of 20 per cent of all European art was stolen by the Nazis. This staggering figure reflects the importance that was attached to artworks by Hitler (erstwhile a failed art student) and Hermann Göring (a keen “collector” who amassed approximately 1,400 important works, as well as many sculptures and tapestries looted by the Nazis for his private enjoyment).

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Art Restitution: Bolshevik Looted art

Written by Published in Law

By Bolshevik-looted art, we mean artworks that were stolen, seized, looted or otherwise misappropriated by the Bolshevik regime during or in aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. The Bolsheviks urgently needed funds and they seized objects of value from churches, museums and eventually, private individuals’ collections which they sold to generate cash. By way of illustration, the Bolsheviks are reported to have sold the imperial family’s crowns, tiaras, necklaces and Fabergé eggs, the Hermitage museum’s Old Masters and the contents of whole palaces to the international art market during the 1920s and 1930s to raise foreign currency.  The seizures were legitimised by means of decrees issued by the Bolsheviks, nationalising private property.

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Art Restitution: Stasi Looted Art

Written by Published in Law

One of the primary goals of the GDR government in the 70s and 80s was to secure much needed Western currency in order to alleviate the state’s debt which was rapidly increasing and to support East Germany’s economy which was generally performing badly. The Stasi arranged the sale of artworks to help them achieve this goal.  A covert program was arranged between 1973 and 1989 whereby more than 220,000 valuable objects, including 10,000 paintings were identified and seized from private citizens.

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Is this a rebellion?, No, this is a revolution

Written by Published in Law

It is said that when a messenger brought the news to Louis XVI that the Bastille had been taken, the monarch asked: is this a rebellion? No Sir, replied a minister standing by, this is a revolution.  Could the same be said of the public announcements made last week by the French auctioneers?

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