21 May 2012

North Africa: U.S. State Dept. on Deauville Partnership's Asset Recovery Plan


FACT SHEET: Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition

Asset Recovery Action Plan

G-8 Leaders met today at Camp David to carry forward the work of the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, which was launched as a long-term, enduring partnership to respond to the historic changes in some of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region [1].

One year ago, the G-8 launched the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition to support the democratic transition and to strengthen governance, foster economic and social inclusion, create jobs, support private sector-led growth, and advance regional and global integration. Progress towards these objectives is more important than ever.

At the G-8 Summit, President Obama and other G-8 Leaders adopted an ambitious Asset Recovery Action Plan for cooperation with transition countries in the Middle East, focusing on facilitating recovery of the proceeds of corruption stowed abroad. The Action Plan signals the G-8's highest level political commitment to cooperate on asset recovery.

Corruption was a rallying issue of the Arab Spring, and asset recovery is high on the agenda of the new governments and their citizens. Concerted international effort to pursue stolen assets fights impunity, but requires cooperation from both countries requesting assistance and those which may have jurisdiction over stolen assets.

Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia have requested assistance from the United States and other G-8 partners to recoup assets. To foster reciprocal cooperation, the Action Plan contains negotiated undertakings by both the G-8 and the transition countries.

Each G-8 member will:

  • Seek to give priority to transition countries' requests for case assistance.
  • Enhance transparency by publishing a guide on its asset recovery laws and procedures -- and make this guide available in Arabic. The U.S. Asset Recovery Guide was released May 21.
  • Pursue legal and policy reforms such as adopting forfeiture tools that apply when the victim jurisdiction cannot secure a conviction.
  • Make investigators and prosecutors available, where possible, to work side-by-side with transition counterparts to develop cases.
  • Support capacity building by training officials, and helping to draft new laws.
  • Support the launch of the Arab Asset Recovery Forum to foster greater cooperation and capacity building.

Transition countries will:

  • Pursue legal and policy reforms to strengthen prevention of corruption and increase the investigative and prosecutorial tools available to trace and pursue proceeds.
  • Foster sound management of investigations and returned funds, through approaches such as establishment of task forces to strengthen coordination and of structured central funds to manage returned assets for the benefit of the country.
  • Launch, with G-8 support, the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery, to promote coordination and follow-up, with leadership from the region. The Forum's inaugural meeting in September will gather transition country and G-8 practitioners and policymakers, with support from the World Bank/UNODC Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative.

The United States is a leader in the area of cooperation on asset recovery. The U.S. supports diplomatic efforts to facilitate asset recovery, such as the UN Convention against Corruption, and provides significant capacity building assistance in this area to countries around the world. The United States has a strong record of providing cooperation in asset recovery cases, an example of which is Attorney General Holder's 2010 launch of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

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