Asset recovery tools are integral to combating corruption, organised crime, sanctions evasion and other profit-motivated crimes. However, in many participating States of the OSCE, the range of asset recovery tools available to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies is limited.

This Working Paper identifies legislative mechanisms in OSCE participating States that empower the state to confiscate suspected or proven proceeds of crime. The overall objective is to ascertain: 

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, calls are growing for states to confiscate Russian assets frozen under sanctions and redirect them to provide support to Ukraine. Our latest Working Paper argues that states can and should do this by enhancing the effectiveness and scope of established asset recovery measures​​​​ – not by introducing new untested mechanisms that risk inviting future legal challenges, defeating the purpose of sanctions and violating the rule of law. 

Written in the light of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, this Working Paper explores whether it is justifiable to confiscate assets frozen under financial sanctions in order to redirect them to the victims of state aggression. 

The paper first explores the concept of sanctions and financial sanctions (asset freezes) and what they mean in practice.

The final recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia (‘the Commission’) urged the government to legislate an unexplained wealth order (‘UWO’) as part of a wider approach to counter the prevalence of money laundering and proceeds of crime in the province.

This document analyses the feasibility of this recommendation. It:

This case study describes how Kenya’s civil illicit enrichment legislation enabled the recovery of corruptly acquired assets from a former Chief Accountant at the Treasury.

It examines a 2021 unexplained wealth (illicit enrichment) case in Kenya involving the former Chief Accountant Patrick Ochieno Abachi. The case is related to Kenya’s so-called Anglo Leasing scandal, in which 18 high-value government security contracts were allegedly awarded to fictitious companies in the early 2000s.

This case study explains how the Ugandan Inspectorate of Governance achieved a landmark prosecution of a former Principal Accountant in the Office of the Price Minister under the country’s illicit enrichment law.

On 28 October 2020, Uganda registered a landmark judgment under its illicit enrichment law in the case of Uganda v Geoffrey Kazinda. Although there have been a couple of other previously prosecuted illicit enrichment cases, the Kazinda case is the most significant because of the vast sum of money involved: a total of UGX 4,630,195,258 (over USD 1,252,600).

Why is international cooperation in asset recovery cases based on illicit enrichment/unexplained wealth laws a particularly challenging issue? This is a question we have received from many corners of the world following our publication last year of an open-access book on Illicit Enrichment: A Guide to Laws Targeting Unexplained Wealth.