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Congress Eyes New AML Rules For Antiquities Trade

New legislation passed by Congress will implement new regulations on the antiquities trade in order to hopefully crack down on the possibility of money laundering or other crimes, The New York Times (NYT) writes.

The legislation was part of a package passed by Congress after it overrode President Donald Trump’s veto.

Under the new provisions in the massive National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the antiquities market will face tighter scrutiny. The NDAA was vetoed by Trump last week, and the House and Senate voted on Monday and Friday to put back into place.

According to the NYT, regulators have worried in the past about the transparency of the antiquities trade. In that realm, buyers and sellers aren’t always identified, including even to one another during a transaction. That has made it an easy way to launder money in the past and hide illegal transfers of funds.

With the new rules, federal regulators would be able to make new measures to remove secrecy from transactions.

While this move was resisted by dealers, the particulars of the legislation will be decided over the next year by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which operates within the Treasury Department. There will be new partnerships with the private sector, law enforcement and the public.

According to legal experts, the new rules will be in the mode of those governing the precious metal and jewelry industries, in which some transactions are flagged to authorities to decide if they’re suspicious or not. The law will also try and do away with the use of shell companies to hide buyers’ and sellers’ identities, NYT reports.

Congress has been working for the last month to pass a new slate of anti-money-laundering laws, which could be the biggest changes made in decades, PYMNTS writes. National security officials, banks and regulators have been among the parties calling for this. The pressure was exacerbated by thousands of leaked reports of so-called suspicious activity, including long-known ways criminals have moved money.

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