From 15–19 May 2023, our International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) training team was at the National Institute of Justice in Sofia, Bulgaria to deliver our flagship training on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery. The training is a crucial element of our collaboration with the Bulgarian government to assist in combatting corruption and recovering stolen public funds.
This case study describes how Switzerland is putting to test a rarely used but powerful law in order to confiscate assets connected to Ukraine’s 2014 Revolution of Dignity, with the aim of returning these to Ukraine.
How can civil society organisations (CSOs) support efforts to recover stolen assets for their country? What are the different stages of the asset recovery process and what are potential actions in each one? What is the legal basis for the involvement of civil society in asset recovery? Where are the main risks and challenges, and how can CSOs overcome these?
Our International Centre for Asset Recovery originally developed a guide to the role of CSOs in asset recovery in 2014, together with partners in the context of the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR).
Practically every country has a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and it plays a vital role in combating money laundering and other financial crimes. Yet there is often confusion – even among anti-corruption authorities – about how it works, what it can and can’t do, and what value it brings.
Thierry Ravalomanda, Senior Asset Recovery Specialist offers a quick overview.
Sophisticated and complex financial crimes span the globe. “Following the trail of the money” can involve many jurisdictions, each with their own laws and practices, and varying capacity or willingness to cooperate internationally.
Fighting corruption and money laundering, and recovering criminal proceeds, are therefore complex challenges. Specialised legal, financial accounting, analytical and investigation skills are essential.
Lise Stensrud, Policy Director Anti-Corruption at the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency (Norad), explains the four challenges in "following the money" to tackle corruption, tax evasion and organised crime. Norad has recently become a core donor of the Basel Institute's International Centre for Asset Recovery, joining the UK, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Jersey.
An exclusive interview with Elmer Chirre Castillo (photo: right), Provincial Prosecutor of the Third Anti-Corruption Supraprovincial Prosecutor's Office of Lima.
By Oscar Solorzano (photo: left), Senior Asset Recovery Specialist and Country Manager for the Basel Institute's Peru country office.
The Basel Institute's 29th Working Paper, published today, aims to contribute to the international policy dialogue on the link between asset recovery and countries’ pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.
This Working Paper aims to contribute to the international policy dialogue on the link between asset recovery and countries’ pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It contends that supporting countries in recovering stolen assets and promoting sustainable development are mutually reinforcing. It also aims to correct the false reputation of asset recovery as a very technical legalistic field of development cooperation, and to generate broader understanding of the far-reaching role that asset recovery can play to foster development.
Asset recovery refers to the process by which the proceeds of crime are identified, traced, seized, confiscated and returned to their rightful owners. Generally speaking, States need to lead the process of recovering stolen assets.
However, civil society organisations (CSOs) can play an important role in the different stages of the asset recovery process.