The mandatory registration of art and antiques dealers (as well as customs warehousing) has been included in the Anti-money laundering law for a while now. However, we had to wait for a royal decree before this provision could enter into force. That royal decree has now finally been published. With this, the Anti-money laundering law will now effectively apply to the art and antiques sector.
Threshold Anti-money laundering law and mandatory registration
To recapitulate, art dealers, antiques dealers and intermediaries – including auction houses – are subject to the Anti-money laundering law when a transaction or series of interconnected transactions has a value of €10.000 or more. For Auction houses, the estimated maximum price is taken into account to calculate the threshold value.
Below the threshold, one can still continue dealing in art and antiques without a registration and without being subject to the Anti-money laundering law. Nevertheless, art and antiques dealers are obligated to abstain from performing or mediating transactions that would reach the threshold value of €10.000 when they are not registered.
For customs warehouses no threshold value is taken into account. These will automatically be subject to the Anti-money laundering law if they offer specialised customs warehousing services for art and antiques.
No new counter
What immediately catches the eye, is the (right) choice of the government to not create yet another register or counter. The registration simply needs to be done in the existing Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
Beware: having a company registration number does not suffice. Art and antiques dealers and intermediaries, which includes galleries and auction houses, also need to register a specific NACEBEL code to indicate their activities. The government has also provided separate codes for trade fairs and exhibitions. For specialised customs warehouses, a separate code is foreseen as well. The following codes indicate the relevant activities and need to be registered:
- the sale of art and antiques (with a value of at least €10.000) is indicated with the codes: 4778702, 4779102, 4799002 en 4791005
- trade fairs and exhibitions of art and antiques (with a value of at least €10.000) are indicated with the code: 8230001
- customs warehousing specialised in art and antiques is indicated with the code: 5210021
Deadline mandatory registration
Art and antiques dealers and intermediaries are now obligated to add these codes to the description of their activities in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. The government has imposed a tight deadline to do so. The mandatory registration needs to take place at the latest on 1 January 2022.
The mandatory registration however does not apply to those who are not subject to the Anti-money laundering law. For a deep dive into the specifics of this law, we refer to our previous blog: Antiwitwaswetgeving in de kunsthandel.
No verification upon registration
In order to register as an art or antiques dealer, one has to meet specific professional criteria. For instance, your civil rights cannot be withheld, you cannot be declared bankrupt without rehabilitation or convicted for certain crimes.
The mandatory registration is however not accompanied with a prior verification of these professional criteria. The Federal Public Service Economy is appointed as supervisory authority. They will monitor the compliance with the professional criteria and the correct indication of the activities.
If art and antiques dealers or intermediaries were to not comply with these obligations, they risk administrative fines and even criminal prosecution. The administrative fines can amount to as much as €1.250.000.
Do you have any questions concerning the anti-money laundering legislation of what this means for you in practice? Or can you use assistance with the amendment of your registration in the Crossroads Bank? Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free and noncommittal introduction meeting!
Do you want to know more about the exact obligations that you have to comply with under the Anti-money laundering law? Check out our previous blog: Antiwitwasverplichtingen voor kunsthandelaars: concreet.