Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

UNODC supports the establishment of an Asset Recovery Inter-agency Network in West and Central Asia

Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan 24-25 April 2018 

Depriving criminals of illicit profits and the methods to transmit them is critical to fight transnational organised crime. Regardless of the illegal source of these proceeds: drug trafficking, corruption, illicit financial flows, fraud and others, asset recovery is a key instrument that requires a common effort by all affected countries.  To this end, seven Asset Recovery Interagency Networks (ARINs) have been created around the world to facilitate the entire asset recovery process (asset tracing, asset freezing and seizing, asset management, asset confiscation/forfeiture, asset sharing) among different jurisdictions. Regrettably, West and Central Asia remains one of the regions where no ARIN is in place, thus making the recovery of proceeds of crime more challenging.

Given the above, the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (RP) has been supporting the establishment of an ARIN in West and Central Asia since 2016 and, as part of this process,  the Second Practitioners Meeting to Discuss the Establishment of an Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network in West and Central Asia was organised in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan on 24-25 April 2018 in partnership with the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

More than 20 practitioners from law enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities of I.R. of Afghanistan, I.R of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, I.R. of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as experts representing the Asset Recovery Networks of Europe (CARIN), Asia Pacific (ARIN-AP), and South Africa (ARINSA) participated in and contributed to the event.

The importance of this initiative was stressed by Mr. Shakir Shayakhmetov, Acting Rector of the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies and by Mr. Jeremy Milsom, Senior Programme Coordinator of the RP, who in his opening remarks stated " Recovering, freezing, confiscating and returning assets is an essential part of the fight against organised crime. Corruption, illicit financial flows, financing of terrorism, tax evasion, fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking are just few examples of activities with a common denominator: money. And this money either obtained illegally or with an illegal purpose threatens the integrity of markets, distorts resource allocation, destroys trust in Government institutions and undermines the rule of law".

During the workshop participants discussed all relevant issues pertaining to the establishment of a network including membership, structure and functioning of regional ARINs as well as how a network in West and Central Asia might look. Discussions regarding what an informal network is and how to use it were generated through a number of operational case presentations from within the region and from ARIN-AP (21 members in the Asia Pacific), ARIN-SA, (15 members in Southern Africa), and CARIN (57 members in mainly Europe).

At the end of the workshop, participants all agreed on the need to establish an ARIN in West and Central Asia, and decided to hold a drafting meeting in July 2018 in Turkmenistan with the objective to: develop the network statement of intent, establish a Steering Committee to ensure effective network administration and coordination and discuss the structure and functioning of the network and its organs including a Presidency and Secretariat

UNODC thanked the European Union and Norway for funding this event.