London Galleries Warn Clients About New Anti-Money Laundering Laws




Cristea Roberts, one of London’s leading art galleries, has sent a memo to all of their clients warning of strict Anti-Money Laundering legislation, effective from 10 January 2020. The new law requires all new and existing clients to provide identification when purchasing a work of art. This will be inline with laws covering the purchase of a property. Please read below for a summary of what the legislation will entail.

Galleries will have to take all reasonable steps to mitigate the risks of money laundering

The government has introduced new anti-money laundering measures which will affect all art dealers, galleries and their clients as of 10 January 2020. This is an EU wide legislation to which the UK will abide irrespective of Brexit. Similar legislation is also expected to be introduced in the US in the near future.

Galleries will have to take, and be seen to take, all reasonable steps to mitigate the risks of money laundering occurring in the course of their business, including the risks of being paid with illegally obtained funds.

As part of these obligations and before the completion of any sale, galleries will be legally obliged to carry out identification and screening checks on all clients purchasing from them. These checks are broadly similar to those carried out by banks when you open up a bank account and have already been put in place by the major international auction houses.

For individuals, galleries will require a copy of a valid photo identity document such as a passport, driving license or national ID card which confirms their full name, date of birth, nationality and permanent residential address. For companies, they will require company details including evidence of incorporation, directors and the ultimate beneficial owners. In a situation where an agent/advisor is acting on behalf of a buyer, they will be required to identify the ultimate buyer in addition to the agent.

Payments received by the gallery will have to be received from a bank account held in the name of the person or entity named on the invoice. In the event that you wish for a third party to pay for a purchase on your behalf, you will have to seek prior authorisation to do this. If the information provided doesn’t meet with these new legal requirements, unfortunately, galleries will have to reserve the right to refuse third party payments.

The gallery industry is asking that you to bear with them while they carry out these mandatory checks before the completion of a sale of a work of art. Please understand that galleries are obliged to do this for all clients, even those with whom they have dealt in the past, but galleries will try and do their best to make the process as quick and efficient as they can.

The gallery added, “We assure you that the information which you provide to us will be held and processed in accordance with our privacy policy and will remain secure and confidential at all times”.

Top Photo: Ian Davenport Exhibition Cristea Roberts 2018  Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2020 

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