31. May 2020

Our message to criminals: justice may take time, but she does not forget

CoSP panel on asset recovery
Dr Hamilton Castro spoke at an ICAR side event at the 8th Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC in Abu Dhabi in 2019

As we write in our 2019 Annual Report, our International Centre for Asset Recovery continues to be one of the only organisations specialised in the recovery of stolen assets. Our focus is on supporting our partner countries in particularly complex cases and the introduction of new working methods and legal and investigative tools.

In this short piece published in the Annual Report, Dr Hamilton Castro, Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor in Peru, explains how the impacts of our joint work go far beyond the money recovered:

In 2019 I celebrated, with my colleagues in the Peruvian justice system and partners at the Basel Institute, a landmark decision in Peru’s first ever asset recovery case based on a new non-conviction-based confiscation law. 

The case relates to a bank account containing laundered money from a Peruvian navy general who is now deceased. For this reason, a criminal conviction of the general was not possible. The Peruvian courts have declared that the money belongs to Peru and should be returned in line with precedents in cases involving Luxembourg and Switzerland. 

This case, like many others in my career, has benefited greatly from strategic advice and assistance in international judicial cooperation provided by the Basel Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery. The experts’ support in these matters has so far helped my office to recover around USD 35 million in funds that were stashed in foreign accounts and linked to serious acts of state corruption in Peru. 

I believe the benefits to Peru go far beyond the money recovered. All the cases on which we have worked together are helping to build pathways for greater international collaboration on asset recovery. They are helping to restore citizens’ trust in the judicial system. 

And our joint achievements deliver an implicit message to criminals: justice may take time, but she does not forget. 

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