CEPOL Research & Science Conference 2022 MRU, Vilnius

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in the art market: A new medium for money laundering?
06-09, 14:30–14:50 (Europe/Vilnius), Panel Room I - I-414

As the rules designed to counter money laundering constantly change, criminals find new methods and platforms to launder their “dirty” money. For example, such new platforms include the art market and the use of crypto currencies both of which have recently been added to the list of sectors susceptible to facilitate money laundering. Apart from the traditional art market, criminals may use digital art in order to facilitate their activities. The rise of the digital art market with the expansion of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) is a new area of concern for law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Anonymity and price volatility of NFTs create a unique environment for criminals. The complex nature and uncertain legal status of NFTs further complicate the counter measures one can take. The purpose of this paper is to present NFTs, analyse their relation to money laundering and art, scrutinise their legal status in the EU and provide potential regulatory solutions and recommendations.
In addition, the paper will examine the difficulties faced by LEAs in the training and education of enforcement officials when such novel technological advancements make their appearance. The fast techonological advancements are, often, difficult to be followed by officials and academics. As training and education are a significant part of enforcement officials, the fast technological advancements create a gap that may have negative results in enforcement. As a result, multidisciplinary research from academics (both form applied sciences and social sciences) is necessary to close this knowledge gap. NFTs are such an example of quick expansion of a new technological phenomenon that highlight the urgent need for training and education needs of LEAs via public-private partnership models.

Professor in law, Centre in Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University, United Kingdom
E-mail: umut.turksen@coventry.ac.uk

Dr Umut Turksen leads the EU-funded TRACE Project (https://trace-illicit-money-flows.eu) and the Law, Risk and Compliance Cluster at the Research Centre for Financial and Corporate Integrity, Coventry University. He is interested in the practical application of the law in innovation, societal security and development. He has published several books and articles on energy, financial crime and international trade and economic law. He has provided consultancy and training to prestigious international businesses and government projects, including technical assistance programmes for multinational corporations (e.g., France Telecom, Equas Ltd, Wilmington Plc) and international organisations (e.g., Commonwealth, NATO, EUROPOL); and professional development training for practitioners and EU-funded projects (e.g., SecuCities, MUTRAP III, COFFERS, PROTAX, VIRTEU). Umut is also a member of the UK Innovation Caucus.

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Dimitrios is an Assistant Professor of Law at the CFCI, Coventry University. He has studied English Language and Literature and then Law. He holds a Master of Arts in Innternational Studies and an LLM in European Economic and Financial Criminal Law. He completed his PhD at the University of Luxembourg on the legal protection of whistle-blowers in the EU banking and financial sector. He worked at the Court of Justice of the European Union prior to joining the CFCI.