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Emerging Trends in Asset Recovery

Gretta Fenner-Zinkernagel, Charles Monteith and Pedro Gomes Pereira

Street protests in the ‘Arab Spring’ countries have illustrated that public demand for recovering stolen assets has grown exponentially, as have expectations by concerned populations and governments. From a topic discussed in expert forums, it has thus become a topic of the people. The question is: Have practitioners and policy makers delivered on these expectations?
Clearly, since the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) ten years ago, much progress has been made in streamlining respective legal and institutional frameworks. On the other hand, we also find that practical successes on the ground remain few and far apart, and largely limited to a handful of countries.
This book asks why and, through the voice of renowned practitioners from a broad range of affected countries, analyses challenges that remain, identifies new stumbling blocks that have cropped up, and discusses practical solutions that are being tested with a view to overcoming these.
The book is published by the Basel Institute on Governance’s International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR).

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MARK PIETH Preface: Are we recovering any assets yet? xi

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MARK PIETH Preface: Are we recovering any assets yet? The publication date of this book marks the fifth anniversary of the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which has put the recovery of stolen assets firmly on the international agenda. It is published seven years into the life of the Basel Institute on Governance’s International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR), the first and – together with the World Bank / UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative – still one of only two organisations exclusively dedicated to helping developing coun- tries in recovering stolen assets. We have seen and supported several other international initiatives on asset recovery, including those by the G8 and the G20, the FATF, OECD and many other international play- ers. Have all these laudable efforts made any difference? It’s easy to be pessimistic. Money continues to get stolen, and it gets stolen at a much faster pace than it is being recovered. Asset re- covery practitioners still see hurdles more often than easy solutions. Poor people in particular are still suffering far too much under the impact of large-scale corruption, and their frustration has, if anything, grown in recent years. Yet, I would like to paint a more optimistic picture, and indeed I am proud that with ICAR we could make a small contribution to what I see as a positive trend. Ten years ago, the topic of asset recovery was hardly on the radar. In fact, even the C-word has not...

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