U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) recently introduced legislation to stop money laundering and end criminal finance schemes carried out by terrorist organizations and organized crime groups.
The Illicit Art and Antiquities Trafficking Prevention Act would add art and antiquities to the list of businesses subject to anti-money laundering rules.
"Terrorist organizations around the world continue trafficking art illegally to fund their criminal activity," Messer said. "This commonsense legislation will help reduce international money laundering and crack down on terrorist organizations like ISIS."
Currently, dealers in art or antiquities are not required to file reports that help identify money laundering, which makes it easier for criminals and terrorist organizations to traffic art and antiquities. Many businesses that sell high-value items, like jewelry dealers, are already required to file reports when they sell expensive items.
Under Messer's bill, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network would require both art and antiquities dealers to file certain reports and forms when selling high-value items.
In 2011, the FBI estimated that crimes relating to art and antiquities trafficking result in annual financial losses of up to six billion dollars per year.
Supporters of the legislation include the Smithsonian Institution, the Antiquities Coalition, the Monuments Men Foundation, ASOR's Cultural Heritage Initiative, the ARIS Title Insurance Company and more.