The Mexican authorities have imposed new anti-money laundering rules on a broad range of businesses including art galleries. The Washington Post reports that these new rules, which demand greater disclosure to galleries and authorities about art buyers, are putting a big crimp in sales:
“The art in Mexico is marvelous. It is superb,” [Guillermo] Zajarias, the owner of Aura gallery, said. “The market should be growing. But it has totally frozen.”
Zajarias and other art dealers here blame their recent troubles on a new law intended to uncover the hidden profits in the lucrative world of Mexican drug trafficking. The government is now demanding more information from a wide range of businesses about who their customers are and how much they are spending. The new anti-money-laundering regulations have many supporters among those who fear the turbulence of an economy awash in narco dollars.
But gallery owners and auction-house directors here say they have become collateral damage. Since the law went into effect last year, Zajarias estimates that sales at his gallery in the posh Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood have fallen by 30 percent, a figure echoed by other gallery owners.
“And it’s 100 percent related to this law,” he said. “This is fiscal terrorism and it is not fair.”
Mexican art galleries suffer as drug-money laws end anonymous cash buys (The Washington Post)