New tools for asset recovery

Looking at new, developing tools for asset recovery aims to keep civil society at the forefront of global developments in asset recovery and to develop evidence-based approaches to these developments.

Within the field of asset recovery, traditional, criminal justice approaches are frequently being replaced by calls for states to adopt and use new, non-traditional tools to make case-work more effective and faster. While typically discussion of alternative tools was focussed around non-conviction-based forfeiture laws, there has been a rapid advance in the past four years of other mechanisms, including reconciliation agreements, unexplained wealth orders, and ADR. Several of these tools show promise, however knowledge gaps exist in several areas, both in our understanding of their effectivity as a tool for asset recovery and in how they contribute positively or negatively to building transparency and accountability more broadly.

What we’re doing

CiFAR’s work on sanctions over the past years has been an important step in developing out knowledge base. Our priority now is to take this further and develop a better understanding of non-traditional tools more broadly, their prevalence and effectivity in actually combatting cross-border corruption, facilitating asset recovery and contributing to systemic change in both countries of origin and financial centres.

This work is in part evaluative, and in part through investigating the effect of these tools in practice. Within this we are also seek to explore new ideas for tools that could make processes both more effective and more transparent and accountable.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a method used to resolve disputes outside of traditional courtroom litigation has increasingly been used to recover illegally acquired assets.

Alternative Dispute Resolution & Asset Recovery in Kenya

This report looks at how and when ADR has been used as a tool for asset recovery in Kenya. As a country at the forefront of using alternative methods to address anti-corruption cases, it considers the opportunities and challenges using ADR in addressing corruption presents, and what lessons can be drawn for other jurisdictions.

Reconciliation Agreements

Reconciliation agreements are a way for states to recover assets obtained through corruption by entering into deals with persons involved in corruption, whereby money is given to the state in exchange for amnesty from prosecution for the original crime.

Reconciliation agreements and asset recovery

This report assesses the use of, and considerations that should go into, establishing a reconciliation agreement framework to address the recovery of assets stolen through corruption. It suggests that while this kind of agreement may present benefits in terms of speed and resource effectiveness, they also present substantial challenges in terms of justice and impunity.

Unexplained wealth orders

Unexplained Wealth Orders were introduced to the legislation of the United Kingdom with the aim of facilitating the fight against organised crime and,  uniquely, also grand corruption of foreign origin. A UWO, as a form of disclosure order that partially reverses the burden of proof, is intended to achieve confirmation of interest in a certain real estate property and the source of wealth that was used to acquire it.

Unexplained Wealth Orders: A new tool for asset recovery?

This report assesses the efficiency of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), primarily as existing in UK legislation, in advancing asset recovery and the fight against grand corruption. The report introduces the UWO legislation, explores how, when and where UWOs have been used to date, and also reflects on transparency and accountability considerations.