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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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GRETTA FENNER ZINKERNAGEL, CHARLES MONTEITH, PEDRO GOMES PEREIRA Conclusion Ten years have passed since the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Despite previous important and noteworthy regional and sectorial efforts to tackle corruption, UNCAC was the first global standard for preventing and combating corruption-related offences. Moreover, it was the first international instrument to bring forth an international standard for the recovery of assets (Chapter V). The international community has applauded the instrument as a whole, as evidenced by its rapid ratification by almost all UN Member States within a very short period of time. Chapter V has been welcomed as particularly innovative; however, its mere existence has also led to high expectations. As this book has shown, the efforts to prosecute international cor- ruption and money laundering cases and to successfully recover stolen assets have made considerable progress over the last five years. How- ever, not all challenges have been overcome and, apart from a handful of cases, little money has effectively been recovered, especially in international cases. This has led to frustrations among citizens at large, as in the Egypt-Mubarak case, as well as among concerned authorities in requesting and requested States. On the other hand, we have seen a clear increase in action: cases under investigation with assets at stake have increased exponentially. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 60 foreign bribery offenses un- der investigation, with the vast majority of them conducted by the US (which, in these cases alone, recovered over USD...

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