The Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) is a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that supports international efforts to end safe havens for corrupt funds. StAR works with developing countries and financial centers to prevent the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and to facilitate more systematic and timely return of stolen assets.
Provide training and capacity building
StAR delivers introductory awareness-raising workshops and more advanced training courses on asset recovery to all institutions, practitioners and stakeholders involved in the asset recovery process. To date, more than 720 participants from 70 countries have participated in regional and national training in Latin America, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. In addition, StAR actively engages with several countries, helping them at their request - develop legislation to strengthen legal frameworks to support asset recovery; assisting in the development of their institutional frameworks and strengthening their capacity to conduct succesfully their asset recoery efforts.
Provide policy analysis and knowledge-building
StAR has published policy papers, expert guides and a database of asset recovery cases in collaboration with a wide range of practitioners from diverse professional backgrounds, regions and legal traditions. They include TRACK (Tools and Resources for Anti-Corruption Knowledge), developed by UNODC and the StAR Asset Recovery Watch. These knowledge products help practitioners work effectively on stolen asset recovery and promote policy development in international asset recovery. Civil society organizations and the news media use these tools in their research, information campaigns and advocacy work. StAR also assists in developing practitioner networks, such as the Global Focal Point Initiative a joint initiative with INTERPOL, which facilitates the exchange of information among practitioners before filing of mutual legal assistance requests.
Assist countries in recovery of stolen assets
Upon request, StAR provides technical assistance to countries that are operationally engaged in asset recovery cases. Working with all the relevant institutions – including financial centers and anti-corruption agencies – StAR adds value by offering technical advice and best practices in the development of case strategy, as well as in the identification and mobilization of the most appropriate asset-tracing tools – such as mutual legal assistance, seizing and confiscating assets, and assisting in the acceleration of international cooperation. StAR performs the role of a neutral convener or facilitator among parties in the international asset recovery process, to promote effective "quiet diplomacy".
StAR’s Work Is Built On Four Key Pillars
StAR helps countries establish the legal tools and institutions required to recover the proceeds of corruption. It helps them develop the specific skills needed to pursue asset recovery cases, through sharing knowledge and information, and providing hands-on training in asset tracing and international cooperation on legal matters. StAR helps countries apply these tools and skills by facilitating contacts between jurisdictions in support of asset recovery cases.
StAR works with and helps bring together governments, regulatory authorities, donor agencies, financial institutions, and civil society organizations from both financial centers and developing countries, fostering collective responsibility and action for the deterrence, detection and recovery of stolen assets.
StAR generates knowledge on the legal and technical tools used to recover the proceeds of corruption, promoting the sharing of global best practices.
StAR advocates for the strengthening and effective implementation of Chapter 5 of the UN Convention Against Corruption and other international standards to detect, deter and recover the proceeds of corruption. Working with global forums such as the Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC and its asset recovery working group, the Financial Action Task Force, and other multinational bodies, StAR fosters collective global public action and helps countries implement international standards.
Other contributors include Australia, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.