Risk of criminal offence in connection with the international circulation of works of art and culture
Avv.ti Francesco Isolabella e Nicola Pietrantoni (TopLegal Awards 2018 Special Edition, aprile 2019)
The international circulation of works of art and culture, as provided and regulated by Law (D. Lgs.) 42/2004, is undoubtedly an issue of significant, current and evolving relevance. As a matter of fact, the Italian Council of Ministers during its session of 28/2/2019, resolved on yet another intervention on applicable laws and regulations to “improve the effectiveness, transparency and efficiency of the control function over the circulation at a national and international level of works of art and culture”.Of particular significance, the criminal consequences that may affect not only Italian and foreign sector operators (auction houses, art galleries, museums, private collectors), but also any physical or legal person – including foreign – who owns or is a potential buyer of a work that has artistic or cultural interest. In a growingly global market, in which on a daily basis, commercial transactions are closed also having as object works of art of a substantial financial value, the transfer of such works in EU countries and outside of the EU represents one of the most problematic and regulated issues, both at a national and EU level. Italian laws and regulations on the matter, aimed at fighting the unlawful trafficking of cultural heritage and at protecting the integrity of the national artistic heritage, provides bans and limitations to circulation outside of Italy, on the basis of the characteristics of the individual works.
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