UNODC Facilitates Consultations with Defense Lawyers in Asset Recovery Cases in Requested States

As part of the ongoing expert advisory services to the Egyptian Government in the field of combating corruption and recovering stolen assets, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime facilitated a Workshop and a series of meetings on "Asset Recovery" bringing together defense lawyers dealing with Egyptian cases in requested states where stolen assets are hidden by the former regime and members of the Judicial Committee for Asset Recovery.

Twenty participants from the Illicit Gains Department, the Egyptian Judicial Committee for Asset Recovery, the Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Justice participated in the Workshop and meetings during the period 21 to 23 January 2013 at Sofitel El Gezirah Hotel, the premises of the Illicit Gain Department and the Ministry of Justice alternately, in Cairo, Egypt. The objective of these events was to identify the challenges of the process of recovering stolen assets from foreign jurisdictions and to provide participants with practical knowledge on how to prepare and manage asset recovery cases.

Senior private defense lawyers with extensive experience and knowledge in the requested states ( UK, France, Cyprus and Hong Kong, Spain and Switzerland and Liechtenstein) with whom the Egyptian Government is cooperating gave presentations on how to prepare asset recovery case files and how to follow from a practical point of view.

With the purpose of better equipping the participants with the tools required for the successful recovery of stolen assets, bilateral meetings between the lawyers and the members of the Egyptian authorities took place to discuss the asset recovery case that have been brought before the courts of the requested countries, and how to improve the situation.

Counselor Yahya Galal Fadl, Head of the Illicit Gains Department and the Judicial Committee for Asset Recovery, Mr. Patrice Budry, Representative of the Delegation of the European Union to Egypt, and Mr. Leif Villadsen, Deputy Regional Representative, gave the opening speeches of the Workshop.

Welcoming the participants, Mr. Villadsen stressed the importance of recovering stolen assets and combating corruption as they have a positive impact on the development of any society. "Corruption stifles and defeats development", he highlighted adding that "..Resources are scarce and the needs are huge", therefore "recovering stolen assets and putting them to proper public use" is of paramount importance. "Asset recovery is about doing justice, fighting corruption and promoting human rights", he concluded.

The workshop and the series of bilateral meetings are implemented in the framework of the European Union-funded project " Supporting Measures to Combat Corruption, Money Laundering and to Foster Asset Recovery in Egypt", which is being implemented since 2011.