Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

West and Central Asia committed to recover ill-gotten assets  

23 May, 2019 Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan 

Financial gain is the main motivation for corruption and organized crime. While imprisonment is often seen as an occupational hazard, criminals make every effort to conceal their illicit wealth and the link between predicate offences and the proceeds of crime. However, identifying and returning stolen assets, instrumentalities and proceeds of crime is a challenging task due to variations in asset recovery legislation and institutional structures, lack of political will, legal barriers such as bank secrecy and a lack of technical capacity and resources. Eventual confiscation of the proceeds derived from criminal offending has long been recognised as a key effective measure to combat corruption and criminal offences. It deprives perpetrators of the illicit and unjust gains, based on the principle that nobody has a right to own assets that they did not legally acquire. 

UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries supported the ARIN-WCA Secretariat in arranging a training in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan on effective Asset Recovery Systems: Understanding Criminal and Civil Asset Recovery Legislation, Processes and Concepts Towards Effective International Cooperation, from May 21-23, 2019.  This was following a recommendation made at the ARIN-WCA Steering Group which was held in March 2019 in Bishkek. The training was attended by around 20 ARIN-WCA contact points from I.R of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, I.R of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan.

In his opening remarks, Muhammad Amin from UNODC acknowledged the momentum gathered by ARIN-WCA since its launch in November 2018. ARIN-WCA has already extended its reach to the other ARIN networks, organized tailor made trainings for its own Members and developed a strategic plan. These positive signs highlight the network is on a progressive path and a valuable addition among the ARIN family across the globe. An eminent panel of experts delivered legal and technical asset recovery concepts through case studies and group work. Participants studied the application and practice of a range of common law and civil law based confiscation regimes. Topics included calculating criminal benefit, third party confiscation, non-conviction based criminal confiscation, extended confiscation, in-rem proceedings, managing assets and responding to international requests. Mr. Ali Reza Deihim a participant from I.R of Iran stated that the workshop provided a commendable technical support to the countries in the ARIN-WCA network.

Ms. Saule Ziyakhanova, a participant and designated contact point for ARIN-WCA from Republic of Kazakhstan, commented that "The workshop expanded my horizon through the comparison of confiscation regimes in practice in various jurisdictions".

The training offered an invaluable opportunity to further strengthen collaboration and cooperation among ARIN-WCA contact points. The participants expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to attend and were keen to participate in the coming two trainings planned during the year on open source intelligence for financial investigators and international cooperation in asset recovery.

UNODC thanked the Government of Norway for funding the event.