At the opening of a five-day workshop in Malawi on Mutual Legal Assistance and the Misuse of Offshore Structures to Conceal Beneficial Ownership, the Honourable Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale hit the nail on the head. Imprisonment alone is not enough, he said. Recovering the stolen assets sends a strong message that crime does not, and should not, pay.
Another 30 specialised judges in Peru have benefited from innovative training in Extinción de Dominio, a new form of legislation that allows stolen assets to be confiscated even if the asset holder cannot formally be convicted of a crime.
The two-day course, which took place on 3–4 September in the Superior Court of the city of Trujillo, is part of a wider series of training programmes aimed at building the capacity of specialised judges across Peru to implement the new legislation.
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.
A high-profile asset recovery case in Peru is putting the country’s new legislation on non-conviction-based confiscation (Extinción de Dominio) to the test.
The new Extinción de Dominio legislation, which roughly translates as "extinction of possession", allows stolen assets to be recovered even if the asset holder cannot formally be convicted of a crime. Introduced in August 2018, it enables the recovery of assets from foreign bank accounts whose owners, for example, are now dead or have absconded.
The first intensive training workshop on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery in Mozambique by the Basel Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) training team sparked vivid discussions on the practical challenges of investigating and combating money laundering in Mozambique and on how different agencies can work better together to achieve this.
The International Expert Meeting on the return of stolen assets in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in May 2019, which I attended as a representative of the Basel Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR), focused heavily on the importance of international cooperation and lessons learnt over the past years.
Anti-corruption officials in Tanzania have been upgrading their skills in specialised financial investigation topics with the help of the Basel Institute’s International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) and a local trainer certified by ICAR’s train-the-trainer programme.
Oscar Solorzano, Senior Asset Recovery Specialist and Manager of the Basel Institute's regional office in Peru, emphasised that asset recovery should be elevated to a national priority in a high-level conference panel at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 18 July 2019.
He was speaking alongside José Valencia, Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs (centre), and Gonzalo Salvador, Coordinador General de Asesoría Jurídica, responsible for coordinating legal advice within the Ministry (right).
As the initial phase of a four-year programme to strengthen Public Finance Management in Peru at a subnational level draws to a close, we are intensifying our efforts to consolidate the programme’s significant achievements and ensure their sustainability. Signed in 2015 by the Peruvian and Swiss governments, the four-year, USD 6 million programme is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
The activities of the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) in 2018 continued to have impact across all aspects of our core mission: to enable partner countries to investigate complex cases of corruption and money laundering, send criminals to jail and recover stolen assets stashed abroad.