This case study explains how the Peruvian State used its non-conviction based forfeiture law, extinción de dominio, to recover a Swiss bank account containing illicit kickbacks paid for the purchase of war planes.

This case was the first of a series of cases between Peru and Switzerland involving Peru’s extinción de dominio law, which enables the confiscation of illicit assets in cases where a criminal conviction of an individual is not possible or desirable. It has paved the way for other proceedings, some of which are still pending in the tribunals.

This short report summarises key recommendations from the Lisbon Conference on non-conviction based forfeiture (NCBF) as a tool for asset recovery, which took place in Lisbon, Portugal on 5–7 July 2022. The conference gathered high-level representatives from Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Timor-Leste, together with international experts.

The recommendations include:

Peru’s first National Convention of Prosecutors Specialised in Extinción de Dominio brought together 80 prosecutors, lawyers, police officers and other justice practitioners to share experiences on the application of Peru’s extinción de dominio law.

Extinción de dominio is a form of non-conviction based forfeiture (NBCF) law common in Latin America. It allows the State to confiscate illicit assets where a criminal conviction is not possible in relation to the specific crime generating those assets.

Oscar Solórzano, Head of Latin America at the Basel Institute on Governance and Senior Asset Recovery Specialist at our International Centre for Asset Recovery, interviewed Dr Hamilton Castro Trigoso, Provincial Prosecutor of the First Provisional Provincial Prosecutor's Office for Extinción de dominio in Lima, on his experiences in investigating and enforcing asset confiscation judgements abroad.

In the first such case in the Americas, Peru has issued a judgement ordering the non-conviction based confiscation of over USD 1.5 million in assets frozen in Mexico.

The achievement adds to Peru’s substantial experience and jurisprudence involving its 2019 law of Extinción de dominio. The non-conviction based forfeiture (NCBF) law allows assets of illicit origin to be confiscated in a judicial procedure, even if a criminal conviction is not possible.