This module is a resource for lecturers

Confiscation in practice: responding to the movement of criminal assets

Confiscation is directed at preventing criminals from profiting from crime. Many international and regional Conventions contain provisions on confiscation. The Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, the Organized Crime Convention and the Convention against Corruption, call for national efforts to criminalize conduct and prevent criminals from gaining profit, the very purpose for organized crime.

Articles 12-14 of the Organized Crime Convention and article 31 of the Convention against Corruption establish the measures that parties to the Conventions are expected to take on asset confiscation as a way of preventing profit from crime.

Article 12. Confiscation and seizure

1. States Parties shall adopt, to the greatest extent possible within their domestic legal systems, such measures as may be necessary to enable confiscation of:

(a) Proceeds of crime derived from offences covered by this Convention or property the value of which corresponds to that of such proceeds.

(b) Property, equipment or other instrumentalities used in or destined for use in offences covered by this Convention.

Specialized investigative techniques and skills to "follow the money" and trace assets effectively beyond national borders are a necessity, as is the ability to act quickly to avoid dissipation of the assets.

UNODC-World Bank Group Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) initiative

The Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) initiative is a partnership between the World Bank Group and UNODC, which recognizes the need to eliminate safe havens for corrupt funds. It works with developing countries and financial centres to prevent laundering of the proceeds of crime and recover stolen assets under the international legal framework provided by the UN Convention against Corruption.

Source: Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative - StAR (UNODC / The World Bank, 2007; 2011)
Regional perspective: Pacific Islands Region

Fiji FIU

The Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is a specialised agency created to collect, analyse and disclose financial information and intelligence. It was established in 2006 by the Financial Transactions Reporting Act of 2004. The FTR Act and regulations outlines a range of requirements for financial institutions to implement in order to prevent the use of Fiji's financial system from money laundering activities and other serious offences.

The Fiji FIU is an integral part of Fiji's fight against money laundering, terrorist financing, fraudulent activities, and other financial crimes. The agency oversees compliance with the Financial Transactions Reporting Act and provides information to law enforcement and revenue agencies.

Source: Fiji FIU
Regional perspective: Eastern and Southern Africa

Asset recovery inter-agency network for Southern Africa (Arinsa)

The Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (Arinsa) is an informal multi-agency network for participating countries. This platform enables participating members to exchange information, model legislation and country laws in asset forfeiture, confiscation and money-laundering.

With the assistance of UNODC, ARINSA was established in March 2009 when a group of delegates from law enforcement and prosecution agencies from nine countries in the Eastern and Southern African region met in Pretoria to discuss the creation of a new, informal Network of investigators and prosecutors. It was agreed that a network based on the Camden Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (CARIN) model, should be established for Southern Africa. The aim of the organization is to increase the effectiveness of members' efforts, individually and collectively, on a multi-agency basis, in depriving criminals of instrumentalities of crime and illicit profits.

Source: Arinsa; Link of interest: Carin Network