“Panic. Absolute bloody panic.” A senior gallerist is describing the first reaction of fellow members of the Society of London Art Dealers to new regulations to combat money laundering in the art market.

I’m hardly surprised: even after 15 years of covering the art world as a journalist, I’m often amazed by its peculiar codes and customs, still substantially based on relationships, private agreements and trust. But this old-school way of doing things, which provides a climate ripe for exploitation by the unscrupulous, is under challenge from the modern world...

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