New tools for asset recovery

New tools for asset recovery is our global priority area that aims to keep us, and civil society more generally, 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 sanctions. 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.

Asset recovery for transformative change

Transnational corruption is a global issue for development and democratic change. With this proejct we aim to deepend our understanding of a) what works to deter cross-border kleptocracy and to strengthen tools that do so, and b) how the exposure of transnational corruption cases and the return of ill-gotten gains can be used by civil soeciety to build accountable, transparent, democratic structures that can help prevent future kleptocratic practices.


Our work on sanctions has aimed to better understand the role that sanctions can play as a preventative measure and as part of the early stages of asset recovery.

Sanctions Watch

Sanctions Watch is an updated version of our original tool – EU Sanctions Watch – and is a database of persons subject to anti-corruption sanctions across the world. It documents the people under these sanctions and analyses sanctions as a tool against corruption.

Sanctioning kleptocrats

Sanctioning Kleptocrats is an assessment of EU Misappropriation Sanctions, their utility and their drawbacks. It also provides a range of options that could be considered to improve the EU’s response.