Cristina Ruiz offers this warning in The Art Newspaper about the UK’s new Bribery Act and its effect upon the widespread practice of paying finder’s fees in the art world:
Art lawyer Pierre Valentin of legal firm Withers warns that the widespread practice of paying finders’ fees to individuals who bring in new business could constitute bribery under the new act.
“Whilst the payment of commission remains a perfectly legitimate business practice, the days when this is paid or received without consideration of the nature of the relationship between the payer, the payee, and the other parties to the transaction may well be over,” said Valentin.
The new act “will capture the payment of commission to intermediaries owing a duty of trust to art collectors…without the collector’s consent to such payment,” he explained. “For example, if you pay a commission to the decorator of an art collector because the decorator assisted you in selling a painting to this collector you could be committing an offence if the collector is not aware that you are making this payment.”
New Law Puts Finder’s Fee in Spotlight (The Art Newspaper)