FATF and INTERPOL joint initiative to prioritise cross-border tracing, seizure and confiscation of criminal assets

Illicit asset recovery is set to play a more significant role in global efforts to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains with the announcement of a joint initiative launched by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and INTERPOL to recover criminal assets.

The initiative announced after the first ever FATF-INTERPOL Roundtable Engagement (FIRE) event is designed to mark a turning point in global efforts to recover illicit assets according to a statement issued by the two organisations.

Poor recovery rate

While asset recovery should be a key pillar of a country’s approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, countries intercept and recover less than one per cent of global illicit financial flows, according to estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Stolen assets are often moved out of countries quickly and channelled to or through multiple countries, rendering the process of asset recovery complex and requiring lengthy international cooperation.

Collaboration and PPPs

The FIRE event comprised mainly public sector experts from law enforcement agencies, financial intelligence units, asset recovery offices, prosecutors, policy makers and international organisations, while some private sector industry leaders also attended.

Some participants however, including Singapore’s Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, underscored how close international collaboration and strong public-private partnerships (PPPs) can bring about better outcomes in asset recovery.

The need to increase effective information sharing among public authorities and with the private sector is needed, as is enhanced operational cooperation at the national, regional and international levels participants at the FIRE event concluded.

Igniting asset recovery

Through a series of plenary and workshop sessions, experts attending the event looked at the strategic and operational changes required at national and international level to ignite asset recovery and take the profit out of crime.

These changes include a shift in law enforcement perspectives and culture, enhanced international networks and tools, and stronger legislation and global standards against money laundering.

More information on the FATF and INTERPOL global joint initiative to recover criminal assets can be found here.


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