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5 Money, Art, and Laundering: Coming to Grips with the Risks

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines some general problems regarding the research on art, crime, and money laundering. In the literature on organized crime and money laundering, art hardly plays a role. First of all, compared to other criminological fields, research on organized crime is of relative minor interest to criminologists, despite the high-level political interest. Second, databases that register art in connection to crime often deal with stolen objects. Third, the concepts of art and money laundering give rise to misunderstandings, as their definitions are anything but unambiguous. According to the interviewed dealers, important transactions are done by using bank accounts. And if a bank account holds criminal gains in the first place, it is not the art sector that is to be blamed for that. The chapter concludes that the criminal proceeds are hardly ever laundered by using art and antiquities.

Keywords: antiquities; art; criminologists; money laundering; organized crime; stolen objects



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