When analyzing the secret transfer of Nazi-looted art to museums and private collections, one may detect the use of multiple jurisdictions, nominees, forgeries or other common concealment methods.

In some cases, these concealment methods are jointly employed to launder the title of looted artwork, similar to the way that illicit funds may be laundered.  Furthermore, because more than 20% of Europe’s art is believed to have been looted by the Nazis during WWII, countless cases exist which can be studied.

There are of course a wide variety of other situations in which assets are secretly transferred by way of concealment methods like multiple jurisdictions, nominees, etc.  The 2007 National Money Laundering Strategy published by U.S. authorities, describes businesses known as “nominee incorporation services”.  Page 64 of the 2007 Money Laundering Strategy, indicates that nominee incorporation services can help their clients open U.S. bank accounts and form U.S. shell companies with anonymity.

By forming these shell companies and opening bank accounts, the nominee incorporation services are thought to have helped launder or secretly transfer as much as $36 billion annually, just from the former Soviet Union alone.

Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams