Financial investigations are critical to proving crimes such as corruption, fraud and trafficking in humans or illicit goods. They are also central to confiscating illegally obtained assets from criminals – so that crime doesn’t pay.

Yet there is often confusion about who performs financial investigations, how, when and why, as well as their relationship to criminal investigations. All of these questions are further complicated by the fact that different countries have different legal systems, different laws and different terminology.

The 4th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies, co-organised by the Basel Institute on Governance, INTERPOL and Europol and hosted this year by INTERPOL, closed yesterday with a convergence around seven key recommendations for strengthening the global response to new financial crime threats relating to cryptocurrencies.

“Follow the money!” Everyone’s talking about it, especially in relation to corruption, fraud and organised crime.

What does “following money” actually mean in this context? How do we do it in practice? And what are some of the wider possibilities?

Read this quick guide by Stephen Ratcliffe, Senior Investigation Specialist, to find out.

The Panama Papers provided proof to the world of something that had long been suspected: the secrecy havens – jurisdictions in which global financial flows were hidden in ways that not even those entrusted with enforcing the laws and regulations of countries around the world could detect – were being used by those engaged in a host of nefarious activities, from tax evasion to corruption and even to child pornography.

The Basel Institute on Governance participated in several workshops between 8 and 9 October 2012 with key stakeholders of the South African anti-corruption system (Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority, Special Investigating Unit, Department of Public Service Administration, South African Revenue Services, National Treasury, Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations of the South African Police Services) at a special session hosted by the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT).