ROME, Italy – The identification, location and seizure of criminal assets was the focus of an Expert Working Group organized by INTERPOL in coordination with the Italian Ministry of Interior.
During the three-day (14 – 16 May) meeting, some 130 experts from 50 countries discussed a range of issues, including the level of implementation of existing international mechanisms and current challenges.
Under the auspices of Ambassador Eugenio María Curia, Chairman of the Working Group, and Mr Sollier, General Counsel of INTERPOL, the experts proposed recommendations and future steps to promote law enforcement cooperation in the field of the identification, localization and seizure of criminal assets.
The meeting was the first step towards the implementation of the 2013 INTERPOL General Assembly resolution on the recovery of assets. This looks to build on initiatives taken at the international, regional and national levels to facilitate the recovery of assets.
With the exponential development of organized crime, terrorism and corruption, the flow of proceeds deriving from these criminal activities poses a serious threat to the international community. Undoubtedly, legal frameworks have been strengthened with for instance the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Recent studies have shown less than 10 per cent of criminal assets are seized or confiscated. The recovery of assets therefore remains a prominent issue and requires the international community’s continued commitment.
In light of this growing phenomenon, cooperation between the law enforcement community and the judiciary is essential, as highlighted through the participation of Prefect Alessandro Pansa, Chief of the Italian State Police and Director General of Public Security of Italy, Filippo Dispenza, Questore della Provincia di Cagliari and INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegate for Europe, and Giusto Sciacchitano, Deputy National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor.
Input was also provided by representatives of operational networks and international organizations as well as experts who are participating in the Global Focal Point Platform on Asset Recovery. This platform was jointly established by INTERPOL and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Expert Working Group adopted an operational approach with a view to identify new tools which could be developed by INTERPOL to offer all 190 member countries innovative means of action in the field of asset recovery.