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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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Returning stolen assets 303


Returning stolen assets BONI DE MORAES SOARES Early restitution of assets: The Nicolau dos Santos case In 1992 Nicolau dos Santos Neto, a former Labour Judge from Brazil, was the President of the Labour Regional Court of the Second Region in São Paulo (TRT-SP). In the same year, he conducted a public ten- der in order to build a new courthouse for the city’s first instance courts. In 1993, a contract was signed with the winner of the public bid, the company Incal Incorporações S.A, Because of suspicious activities related to the construction pro- cess, in February 1999 several criminal and civil proceedings were launched against the people involved in the building of the court- house, including Nicolau dos Santos Neto. During the investigations law enforcement officials discovered that dos Santos had transferred stolen assets overseas, mainly to the United States and Switzerland. An official audit of March 1999 concluded that BRL 169 million (ap- proximately USD 85 million1) had been diverted from its legal pur- poses.2 One of the biggest corruption and money laundering scandals in Brazilian history emerged from the 1992 public tender, and 21 years later the final judicial convictions against the wrongdoers are still mostly pending. The lack of a final conviction would have caused Brazil to lose millions of dollars already frozen, because a final judgment is the 1 Amounts in this essay were converted to US dollars using the exchange rate of 1.0 US dollar = 2.0 Brazilian real. 2 MR Machado, Judicial...

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