The White House warned this week that the lucrative art industry is ripe for corrupt money laundering schemes as the president’s son, Hunter Biden, sells his paintings for upwards of half a million dollars despite no prior experience.
The national Strategy on Countering Corruption, unveiled on Monday, highlights “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 good sold, make the market optimal for illicit value transfer, sanctions evasion, and corruption,” the 38-page strategy reads.
Meanwhile, just as Hunter Biden served in a lucrative board role for a Ukrainian energy company with no industry background, the president’s son has taken to a new hobby the White House now says is “optimal” for financial crimes.
In July, CBS revealed that Hunter Biden was scheduled to meet with potential buyers at art shows in Los Angeles and New York to promote work priced as high as $500,000. Though the White House has pledged its commitment to a process of anonymity for buyers, those protocols would be undermined by Hunter mingling with potential buyers at the art shows. At least five of the Biden son’s prints have already sold for $75,000 each, according to the New York Post.
The high-dollar sales came two years after the inexperienced artist was unable to find a gallery willing to show his work, before his father clinched the Democratic nomination for president.
A Senate report published last year by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee similarly raised concerns about art serving as a vehicle to evade sanctions, exposing Russian oligarchs in particular.
Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck called on the Biden administration to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings in October.
“The art market has become one of the world’s most utilized pipelines for anonymous laundering of dirty money into legitimate assets,” Buck wrote. “An independent investigation by a prosecutor not reporting to nor subject to being overruled by political appointees at the Department is the only way to ensure the investigation is protected from undue influence.”