After Drugs and Guns, Art Theft Is the Biggest Criminal Enterprise in the World

My retirement plan is shaping up nicely. “If it seems hard to imagine that art crime is, according to the US Department of Justice and Unesco, the third highest-grossing criminal trade over the past 40 years (just behind drugs and weapons), then consider that the art trade is the largest lawful unregulated business on the planet, leaving hardly any paper trail for detectives to follow. Buying a sculpture or painting is just like acquiring a bicycle from Gumtree or Craigslist. We wouldn’t buy a house without a deed, yet people do this with art worth millions of dollars all the time.”

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