Organized Crime in the Art Forgery Market

Piotr Chrzczonowicz


One of markets, in which organised crime may focus its vital interests, is the art market which is one of the most rapidly growing, prosperous and up-and-coming capital markets in the world. Operating within this market and colonising its various particular fields give criminals not only the possibility to gain huge money but also the possibility to hide money stemming from illegal sources. Among possible forms of activity of organised crime in the art market there are identified instances of trading and turnover with forged goods.

The issues of engagement of organised crime in a certain kind of industry dealing with production of non-authentic artworks, an attractive business of trading of forged artworks or also shady services letting to ‘legalise’ forged goods in the art market don’t lie in the mainstream of interests of contemporary criminology dealing with various pathologies connected with activity of organised criminal groups and their members.

It’s not easy to estimate the real scale of forgeries of artworks and other crimes assisting such forgeries, committed either by individual perpetrators or criminals involved in organised criminal groups. Such crimes are reported and revealed only in a small percentage of cases and surely a huge number of mentioned crimes remains undiscovered and is embraced by so-called dark figure. Counteracting against organised crime operating in the art forgery market is a difficult and challenging task. Perpetrators of art forgeries and other related crimes realise that the risk to be finally convicted and, in consequence, harshly punished is rather low.


Art forgery, art forgery market, organised crime, crimes against art, frauds, money laundering

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