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Artifacts and artwork can collect trouble

Joe Mont | July 11, 2017

Call it: “Indiana Jones and the Suspicious Activity Report.”

It is certainly the sort of problem that doesn’t end up on a compliance officer’s desk very often: finding out your company was illegally buying up historic artifacts.

Craft supply retailer Hobby Lobby, however, is facing the consequences for doing so. The case elucidates government efforts to fight the financing of terrorists through illicit funding channels that often entail money laundering.

To equate antiquities with artwork (and by a broader extension, collections of luxury goods) compliance officers, especially at financial institutions, must be wary of being caught up in one of those schemes. As for other companies, the paintings that adorn hallways and tchotchkes in the lobby might be an unknown source of regulatory pain.

A controversial hobby

On July 5, the Department of Justice filed a civil action demanding the forfeiture of thousands of ancient Iraqi... To get the full story, subscribe now.