WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit public comment on a range of questions related to the implementation of amendments to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regarding the trade in antiquities. This ANPRM is the first in a series of regulatory actions that FinCEN will undertake to implement Section 6110 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act), which became law on January 1, 2021 (see The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 | FinCEN.gov for more details on FinCEN’s implementation of that legislation).
“This regulatory action demonstrates FinCEN’s continued commitment to implement the AML Act,” said Acting Director Himamauli Das. “I encourage industry and other stakeholders to comment on this ANPRM, which will strengthen the outcome of the rulemaking process.”
Section 6110 of the AML Act amended the BSA by including as a type of financial institution a person engaged in the trade of antiquities, including an advisor, consultant, or any other person who engages as a business in the solicitation or the sale of antiquities. Section 6110 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to issue proposed rules to carry out the amendment.
The trade in antiquities may be exploited by money launderers and terrorist financiers to evade detection by law enforcement and to launder their illicit funds through the U.S. financial system. Terrorist organizations, transnational criminal networks, and other malign actors may also seek to exploit antiquities to transfer value to acquire new sources of funds, evade detection, and launder proceeds from their illicit activities. Some terrorist groups have generated revenue from permitting or facilitating the illegal extraction or trafficking of antiquities in territories where they operate.
On March 9, 2021, FinCEN issued a Notice informing financial institutions about ongoing efforts with respect to the requirements of Section 6110 of the AML Act (see FinCEN Notice). The Notice highlights the AML Act’s amendment to the BSA’s definition of financial institution to include persons engaged in the trade of antiquities. The AML Act also directs the Secretary to perform a study of the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism through the trade in works of art. The Notice provides information about illicit finance risks, as well as specific instructions for financial institutions filing Suspicious Activity Reports, related to the trade in antiquities and art.
This regulatory action furthers the organizing principle around the 2020 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing that a strong and transparent U.S. financial system denying criminals and malign actors access to funds and the resources they need to carry out nefarious activities, or to profit from their crimes, strengthens U.S. national security and protects Americans. This action is an important step in strengthening U.S. national security by protecting the U.S. financial system from money launderers and terrorist financiers that seek to exploit the antiquities trade.
FinCEN strongly encourages members of the antiquities industry, law enforcement, civil society groups, and the broader public to submit written comments. Such written comments will assist FinCEN in developing the proposed rules.
Comments should be submitted by October 25, 2021.