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18 November 2015

Global asset recovery cooperation focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference

NEW DELHI, India – Enhancing asset recovery cooperation as part of the global response to corruption and financial crimes is a focus of the 6th Global Focal Point Conference on Asset Recovery in New Delhi.

Gathering more than 120 delegates from some 50 countries, the three-day (17 – 19 November) meeting is organized by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), INTERPOL and the World Bank - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) StAR (Stolen Asset Recovery) Initiative.

The conference offers participants acting as national ‘focal points’ for asset recovery investigations the opportunity to review developments and challenges in this area, and identify potential measures to enhance international cooperation in asset recovery cases.

“Governments across the world work to transform the lives of the poor and the marginalized. Corruption is one of the principal challenges to that objective. India stands committed in its fight against corruption,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the meeting.

“I appreciate the efforts of INTERPOL and its partners - World Bank and UNODC - in conceiving the idea and giving leadership to this forum that has the potential to put an end to safe havens for the corrupt.”
“The excellent and proactive cooperation between INTERPOL and Indian investigative agencies has resulted in the tracking of many fugitive criminals and their subsequent deportation or extradition. I would like this cooperation to deepen,” added Prime Minister Modi.

Speaking before India’s Prime Minister, government ministers, Central Vigilance Commissioner, National Security Advisor as well as other senior officials – including CBI Director Anil Sinha and INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegate Anselm Lopez – INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock underlined the country’s ‘vast experience’ in handling transnational crime threats and thanked the CBI for its role in nurturing cooperation between India and INTERPOL.

“As with other crimes, corruption and its gains are interconnected globally in a way that requires a collective, coordinated response from law enforcement,” said Mr Stock.

The audience heard that while INTERPOL-StAR’s Global Focal Points Network provides a secure, neutral platform for information exchange to more than 200 investigators and prosecutors from 120 countries, more needs to be done to address the challenging and complex nature of asset recovery.

In this respect, a pilot project for the creation of a new INTERPOL notice to trace and recover assets from criminal activities was recently endorsed by its global membership.

“Experiences at the national level must be shared over a neutral platform between nations cutting across crime areas and regions. This holds true whether in countering organized crime, cybercrime – or terrorism,” said Mr Stock, pointing to the recent terror attacks in France, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries.

“In the face of such complex global threats, international police cooperation continues to facilitate the vital exchange of law enforcement information, skills and experiences across all regions,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

Welcoming the ‘impetus’ given to the cooperation between INTERPOL and India, CBI Director Anil Sinha said: “Our vision is of a CBI with world class capabilities that is knowledge and technology driven and benchmarks itself with the leading law enforcement institutions in the world.”

India World Bank Country Director Onno Ruhl said: “With our common challenge to mobilize funds for the Sustainable Development Goals, it is even more important to fight corruption and recover stolen money so that it can be used for priority development spending. I am delighted that the Government of India is hosting this conference and grateful for the partnership with INTERPOL and UNODC through the StAR Initiative. The commitment of all partners is most encouraging.”

Under Operation Augeas launched earlier this month, INTERPOL is coordinating a global investigation led by French authorities into an alleged international corruption scam involving sports officials and athletes.

The INTERPOL-StAR Global Focal Points Platform on Asset Recovery was launched in 2009 to assist practitioners overcome operational barriers tied to international asset recovery.

James Anderson, INTERPOL Assistant Director Anti Corruption and Financial Crime Sub Directorate

Anil Sinha, Director CBI India