What are the EU sanctions and why are they important?

During the protests in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011, which led to the removal of longtime dictators Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the Council of the European Union did something remarkable and, at the time, relatively unprecedented – it issued a regulation to its member states which pre-emptively froze the assets held[…]

The Tunisian Job: How to recover 13 billion dollars stolen by the Ben Ali family

Zine el Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January 2011 following popular protests which ended his 23-year rule at the start of what became known as the Arab Spring. It is no secret how the ruler and his family enriched themselves during that period. The World Bank estimates the wealth of the Ben Ali family[…]

Fighting stolen assets in Italy: a chat with the Osservatorio sulla ndrangheta

Today we talked with our friends and partners at the Osservatorio contro la ndrangheta, a cultural association based in Reggio Calabria, Italy. The Osservatorio has been active against  organised crime - ndrangheta, as the mafia in Calabria is known - since 2007 through research, awareness raising and education with schools and universities, including the Humboldt[...]

Is there a happy ending when recovering assets?

The asset recovery process is cumbersome, long and expensive. In fact, the average asset recovery process lasts over six years. However, there are cases that last much longer. Successful cross-border asset tracing and recovery requires the following steps: – Tracing and identifying the assets. It is necessary not just to locate the assets and funds[…]

Asset recovery: Germany 101

In the first part of this blog series we discussed how Germany is a country at high risk of money laundering due to the financial system’s secrecy. This has allowed dictators and other officials to hide their corrupt wealth in its banks. But what about the efforts that Germany has taken to help countries recover[…]

“L’Accent” speaks about CiFAR´s campaign work

This article in Catalan was published during our “Keep the Assets Frozen” campaign in early 2016, pushing the European Council to extend sanctions that froze assets deposited across the EU by Ben Ali and Mubarak. One of our members, Laila describes the challenges of asset recovery and how CiFAR contributes to the successful return of[…]

What is asset recovery and why you should care

(Click here for Spanish) Despite the alarming political, economic and social impact of public asset theft, the world of asset recovery remains a mystery to the general public. As 20 to 40 billion dollars in state assets are stolen by public officials or powerful leaders in developing countries throughout the world, it’s time we learn[…]

Is Germany a tax haven? Part I

Over the past few years, Germany has been praised for its efforts in leading on transparency and anti-corruption in the global agenda and for supporting countries in transition to recover stolen assets. But at the same time, the German finance ministry estimates that €100 billon is laundered through Germany each year.  What’s the truth? In[…]

Beyond destinations, havens and victims

When we talk about the theft of public assets and their return, we often get into a discussion of ‘destination countries’, ‘tax havens’ and ‘victim countries.’ These terms roughly correspond in most of our minds to: Destination countries: Rich, developed countries with steadily increasing property markets and stable banks Tax Havens: Island nations with large[…]

Where are the Americans? – The United States response to the Panama Papers

American companies like Google and Nike hide more than $2.1 trillion in offshore tax havens. But the sad truth is that the United States itself plays host to many of the same practices detailed in the leak of the Panama Papers. Executives and firms take advantage of an increasingly deregulated market as the U.S. consistently avoids international efforts at disclosure reform. […]