Biden Adm. Stresses Art World Full of Corruption as Hunter Sells His Artwork for Lots of Money
02:15 GMT 07.12.2021 (Updated: 20:52 GMT 19.10.2022)
The White House's admission of money laundering in the art industry comes after ethics experts chastised the administration over art transactions featuring the artwork of the president's son.
As the president's son, Hunter Biden, sparks concern by selling paintings for up to half a million dollars despite having no professional art expertise, the White House warned that the art business is a breeding ground for money laundering and other financial crimes.
The Biden administration released its fresh new national anti-corruption strategy on Monday, claiming it to be the first of its kind.
The paper from the White House specifically mentions corruption in the art industry, stating that "markets for art and antiquities — and the market participants who facilitate transactions — are especially vulnerable to a range of financial crimes."
"Built-in opacity, lack of stable and predictable pricing, and inherent cross-border transportability of goods sold, make the market optimal for illicit value transfer, sanctions evasion, and corruption," the document reads.
As part of the measures suggested in the document, the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act requires the Treasury to perform a study on how the trade in works of art facilitates money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illicit financial operations, which is expected to be submitted to Congress by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, with prices reportedly ranging from $75,000 to $500,000, Hunter Biden's maiden excursion into the art world has been met with skepticism, according to Fox News, owing to his lack of professional art training.
The White House has long claimed to have an ethics strategy in place for the president's son to keep him in the dark about who is buying his art. That idea, nonetheless, purportedly seems to have been mostly symbolic, as Biden has reportedly attended art events where possible buyers were present.
More to the story, earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki skirted a question about Biden's selling of Chinese assets. During the daily press conference, a reporter asked Psaki if the White House would commit to fundamental transparency surrounding the younger Biden's sale of overseas assets.
Psaki quickly sidestepped the topic, directing the reporter to the president's son's attorneys.
"Well, on the first, the president’s son is not an employee of the federal government, so I’d point you to his representatives," she said.
Hunter Biden reportedly sold his assets with Chinese company Bohai Harvest RST Equity Investment Fund Management Co. through Skaneateles LLC in mid-November. He was said to hold a 10% stake in the business through his Skaneateles firm despite his father's pledges to ban every family member from making business deals with overseas companies.