In this issue
Welcome
Failure to Prevent Economic Crime to Become An Offence (This Time)
The SFO's Current Direction and Priorities
Market Abuse Regulation: The Key Changes
Clean Hands: Legal Audits
Corporate Criminal Liability: a changing landscape
Terrorism Financing: Institutions be warned!
R v Harvey - An opportunity to challenge historic confiscation orders?
A New Global Forum for Asset Recovery
New Edition of Blackstone's Guide to POCA 2002 published
A New Global Forum for Asset Recovery
 
Harriet Johnson
Harriet Johnson

by
Harriet Johnson



One of the key announcements to come out of the Anti-Corruption Summit was the creation of The Global Forum for Asset Recovery.  Designed to “bring together governments and law enforcement agencies to work together to recover stolen assets”, the Forum was heralded as a “major commitment” to “expose, punish and drive out corruption wherever it exists”.

 

The first meeting of the forum will be held in the USA next year and co-hosted by the UK, with the support of the UN and the World Bank.  The focus will be on the return of stolen assets to Nigeria, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

 

As yet there are few details on how the Forum will operate, but what we know of its aims so far may be summarised as follows:

  1. Encouraging cooperation between countries whose assets have been stolen and countries where those assets are likely hidden;
  2. Strengthening legislation in the UK and 20 other countries, including Switzerland, Nigeria, France, Germany and Afghanistan, to assist in asset recovery; and
  3. The development of the first internationally-endorsed guidelines to ensure transparency and accountability in the return of stolen assets.

 

From those details, it is apparent that the achievement of the Forum’s aims is unlikely to be straightforward.  One might question the wisdom of relying on legislation in some countries where the allegations are of ministers themselves being involved in stealing or hiding assets.  Further, “guidelines”, internationally-endorsed or otherwise, are unlikely to be observed unless strengthened by significant sanctions for their breach – none of which appear to have been agreed at the summit.  Furthermore, the political will to observe strict transparency and accountability in countries whose economies depend on financial discretion is likely to wane somewhat once delegates return home.

 

In short, the aim is admirable, but the effectiveness of the measures put in place remains to be seen.  What is apparent is that, if the government adheres to the UK’s own commitments, we are likely to see new additions to the statue book in the near future.



Harriet Johnson

 

 

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