The StAR Day has become a key element of the Conference of States Parties (CoSP), with our team and partners coordinating a full day of sessions and dialogue on asset recovery. At the 8th CoSP, the StAR day sessions were attended by over 150 participants. We opened the day with the High-level Conversation on Asset Recovery: Achievements, Challenges and the Road Ahead for Effective Cooperation, in which officials from various countries parsed out the contemporary asset recovery landscape, practical challenges in investigations and the inadequacy of classic tools for international cooperation.
This was followed by a panel on Perspectives on Asset Return: Mechanisms and Monitoring, which reflected on the specific mechanisms that have been used for returns and highlighted experiences of Kenya and Switzerland. It also analyzed experiences of civil society in Nigeria monitoring returns, and development of a tool assessing implementation of GFAR principles in Sri Lanka.
During the lunchtime session, Getting the Facts Straight: Why we need better data on international asset recovery and how we can get there, we highlighted the need for a better evidence base on international asset recovery, presented results from open source research on corruption-related asset recovery cases conducted for the StAR Asset Recovery Watch database, and discussed a new research project aimed at collecting data on assets frozen, confiscated, and returned internationally directly from countries.
The StAR team also presented the publication “Going for Broke” on how to use Asset Recovery proceedings to recover stolen assets in cross border corruption cases. The publication was welcomed with interest, and the possibility of translations into other languages was discussed with counterparts.
The last session, Getting Serious About Beneficial Ownership Transparency, highlighted the use of shell companies as a cross-border getaway vehicle for corruption, and presented perspectives from Slovakia, Indonesia and Uruguay on implementing beneficial ownership reforms. The panelists noted the importance of independent verification of beneficial ownership information in the design of transparency reforms and the setup of registries.
The StAR team, in coordination with authorities from client countries, organized 23 bilateral case-related meetings between representatives of 21 States parties to UNCAC on the margins of CoSP. The goal was to establish contacts between authorities from “requesting” and “requested” countries, to help them better understand the requirements for assistance, and to empower them to address specific pending requests.