International asset recovery
The Global Focal Point Initiative
We are developing initiatives to trace, seize and return stolen public funds to the country of origin.
The theft of public assets by corrupt leaders has a major impact on society, particularly in developing countries. It diverts money from services such as healthcare and education, it erodes public trust and threatens governance.
As stolen assets are often concealed in foreign jurisdictions, the process of asset recovery is complex, time consuming and involves multiple countries. As such, there is a clear need for concerted action on a global level.
Connecting experts around the world
The Global Focal Point Initiative promotes the exchange of corruption data among law enforcement agencies and national anti-corruption entities across the world.
‘Focal Points’ are anti-corruption practitioners registered within the initiative and who form an international network of experts.
Joint investigations are pivotal in the coordinated fight against corruption. The Global Focal Points Initiative facilitates personal contacts and helps build trust among investigators.
As of January 2014, a total of 190 national investigators and prosecutors from 102 countries had been nominated as Focal Points.
The Global Focal Point Platform
A secure Global Focal Point Platform is available to authorized users via INTERPOL’s secure website. It enables investigators to pursue cases where assets may have been flown out of the country, held in different forms or are under direct or indirect control of corrupt officials and entities.
Given that legal systems vary greatly between countries, the Platform promotes investigators’ understanding of the different systems and provides a bridge between them.
Focal points are available to respond to emergency requests for assistance. This is crucial in asset recovery cases where lack of immediate action may cause law enforcement to lose a money trail.
Products and services available on the platform
Through INTERPOL secure channels, registered Focal Points can access:
- Information and contact details of Focal Points from other jurisdictions;
- Legislative, administrative, investigative and judicial frameworks for member countries;
- All valid INTERPOL Notices published for corruption-related offences;
- INTERPOL Notices to freeze assets;
- A 24-Hour Initial Action Checklist for an asset recovery investigation: This checklist covers key steps, for example, identifying and interviewing relevant witnesses, freezing and seizing proceeds of crime, and obtaining relevant documents.
In addition, we share best practices and guidelines with our member countries through the INTERPOL Library of Best Practices, produced by the INTERPOL Group of Experts on Corruption.
INTERPOL Secure Communications (SECOM)– Asset Recovery
While providing a secure environment for experts to consult information, the Platform did not previously allow for the secure exchange of messages. As many as two-thirds of the registered Focal Points did not have secure email systems, which meant many were reluctant to exchange information via email. This resulted in further delays in communicating urgent information, which was detrimental to operational activities.
With the launch in July 2013 of a new INTERPOL system known as SECOM, for the first time the specialized anti-corruption community has a secure email capability. SECOM offers an environment similar to a social network, but fully secure, including temporary storage space for current investigations, a joint calendar and resource library for frontline investigators.
The Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative provides knowledge input to the concept as well as content for the Platform. StAR is run jointly by the World Bank, the UNODC and the US Department of State, through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Membership of the Global Focal Point Platform is open to all INTERPOL member countries. Applicants should be from law enforcement, judiciary or an administrative authority with a focus on asset recovery or corruption in general.
Applicants must be:
- Nominated and authenticated by the Head of the national agency in which they are working;
- Authorized by the Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in their county.
For futher information, please contact INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption unit.
Global Focal Point Platform
Some 190 investigators and prosecutors from more than 100 countries make up this secure contacts database, and are available for emergency investigative assistance.
Registered Focal Points can access the Platform via INTERPOL's secure website.
Supported by INTERPOL and StAR
4th Global Focal Point Conference on Asset Recovery
3 - 5 July 2013, Bangkok, Thailand
- 16-18 July 2012,
- Amman, Jordan
- 11-13 July 2011
- Lyon, France
- 14-15 December 2010,
- Vienna, Austria