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US government could regulate art dealers under proposed law

New York law firm warns galleries that legislation could mean new compliance and reporting regime

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US government could regulate art dealers under proposed law

US lawmakers are working on legislation that would subject the country’s art dealers to financial regulation by the government and which could prove challenging for galleries, an art-law firm warned its clients this week. New York-based Pearlstein McCullough & Lederman said that legislation is likely to be introduced in Congress during the week of 14 May, adding dealers of fine art and antiquities to the list of regulated financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act.

“If the legislation is passed, the Treasury Department will draft regulations making art dealers subject to an anti-money-laundering compliance and reporting regime, and will possibly require documented provenance and electronic publication of sales,” William Pearlstein says. The legislation is “probably more of a worry to dealers who have clients sailing close to the edge”, says Nicholas Maclean of London- and New York-based Eykyn Maclean, showing at Tefaf New York Spring, where most dealers had not heard about the proposal on the fair’s opening day.

Appeared in Fair Dailies, Frieze New York 2018