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03 July 2013 - Media release

Enhancing global cooperation in asset recovery investigations focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference

BANGKOK, Thailand – A new tool to improve international cooperation in asset recovery efforts in investigations potentially spanning the globe has been unveiled at the 4th Global Focal Point Conference on Asset Recovery which opened in Thailand today.

Hosted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand, the three-day (3 – 5 July) meeting, organized by INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption unit and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) – a partnership between the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and in cooperation with the United States Department of State, brings together some 155 anti-corruption investigators and prosecutors from 67 countries.

With the theme of the conference ‘Operational Support for Asset Recovery’, delegates will be updated on the launch of the Secure Email Capability for Asset Recovery (SECAR) developed by INTERPOL further to the recommendation unanimously adopted at the 3rd StAR-INTERPOL asset recovery meeting, hosted by the Jordanian Anti-Corruption Commission in Amman, in 2012.

For the first time within the anti-corruption community, this innovative INTERPOL tool will enable the instant and secure exchange of information and technical knowledge on corruption and related asset recovery. Immediate and real-time information exchange is essential in such investigations as any delay significantly reduces the chance or recovering  stolen assets.

“INTERPOL’s vision is for a safer world. Corruption, through its corrosive effects renders society vulnerable and negatively impacts on the ideals of personal liberty, safety and security,” said Bernd Rossbach, Director of INTERPOL’s Specialized Crime Directorate.

“This conference is a signal to corrupt individuals that countries are reinforcing their coordination, and INTERPOL and all involved organizations will continue to support them, as clearly demonstrated by the launch of SECAR which will significantly boost these efforts,” added Mr Rossbach.

Jean Pesme, StAR coordinator, stressed that only close international cooperation will bring success in recovering stolen assets: “The Global Focal Point Initiative has become a major feature of the fight against corruption.

“StAR’s work with INTERPOL has been crucial in advancing asset recovery, and underlines the fact that effective cooperation between different jurisdictions is the cornerstone of successful international financial investigations,” said Mr Pesme.

SECAR will be available to authorized Focal Points from all INTERPOL member countries through INTERPOL’s Global Focal Point Platform  which also provides access to a range of investigative tools and services.

The Platform also provides investigators access to a 24-Hour Initial Action Checklist for an asset recovery investigation. The checklist gives Focal Points a framework when initiating a stolen asset investigation, to ensure that key steps in the crucial first 24 hours of an investigation are covered, including, identifying and interviewing relevant witnesses, freezing and seizing proceeds of crime, and obtaining relevant documents.

Other topics to be addressed during the conference include detecting, investigating and recovering proceeds of corruption in the extraction of natural resources in addition to sharing best practice and expertise in asset recovery.