Our Work

Find out more information on StAR's workstreams, communications and partnership work.

What We Do

StAR’s ultimate objective is to support efforts to deny safe havens for corrupt funds and facilitate more systematic and timely return of proceeds of corruption. We aim to achieve this by working directly with jurisdictions (country work), by contributing to the international debate on anti-corruption and asset recovery (policy work) and by drafting reports and conducting research on such topics (knowledge work).  

Country Engagements

Since its establishment in 2007, StAR has assisted over 35 countries in drafting legal frameworks, setting up the institutional structure, and building the skills necessary to trace and return stolen assets. We also provide the platform for dialogue and collaboration and facilitate contact among different jurisdictions involved in asset recovery, both developing countries and financial centers.

Our technical assistance to countries is always based on country authorities’ official requests for support. While we may provide technical advice or strategic guidance on asset recovery aspects of specific cases (where requested), we do not conduct investigations nor do we become otherwise involved in a country's criminal, civil or administrative proceedings. 

Legislative framework

To be effective in asset recovery, a robust legal framework is a pre-condition. Where requested, StAR supports countries that are in the process of reviewing existing legislation, and developing new regulations for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corruption.  That might entail a review of  the legal framework, assistance in putting in place the necessary legal building blocks to facilitate domestic and international information exchange, the proper criminalization of different types of corrupt behavior, (including the laundering of the proceeds thereof) ensuring sufficient transparency of the corporate sector and non-conviction based confiscation

Capacity building

Countries should also ensure they have the basic skills to investigate and prosecute money laundering and corruption, have a solid system for the declaration of assets and interests, and are able to conduct international cooperation. To this end we have developed a number of courses, that have both a theoretical element, on the international standards and required legislation, and a practical element, often based on real cases that help participants work with exhibits and pieces of evidence to build a case, and try to confront them with the types of decisions they will have to make in real cases.   

StAR’s courses cover introductions and in-depth analyses of financial investigations, beneficial ownership, open source investigations and asset declarations through e-verification systems. Each course is tailored to the specific country context and legislative framework.  

Domestic coordination

Possibly the most frequent obstacle to successful asset recovery is the inability of relevant agencies to cooperate domestically. Therefore, StAR assists requesting countries in developing a clear, well-defined structure to enable domestic cooperation, ensuring there is a lead agency, and that all agencies with relevant intelligence or evidence can share such information (under sufficient safeguards) and can cooperate operationally. This can mean developing a new institutional framework for domestic agencies, establishing a permanent committee on anti-corruption and asset recovery, or setting up an ad-hoc taskforce.  

Case assistance

Almost invariably, proceeds of corruption will cross borders, or be located in jurisdictions other than where the corrupt acts took place. Therefore, another important component of StAR’s work is to facilitate international cooperation between countries seeking assistance, and those able to provide it. This could range from facilitation of bilateral meetings to support on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests or more informal forms of cooperation. At times, it may include the organization of a multilateral event to provide a forum for one or more countries seeking to recover proceeds of corruption to liaise with relevant financial centers.

Policy & Partnerships

To promote the cause of anti-corruption and asset recovery internationally, we work with partners around the world including the Conference of States parties to UNCAC, the G7, the G20, and the Financial Action Task Force, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Egmont Group and the Camden Asset Recovery Interagency Network (CARIN), the International Bar Association and relevant civil society organizations such as Transparency International (TI).

Through our policy work we seek to provide the ‘hard facts’ on actual progress at the global level on asset recovery, to assist in the monitoring and development of relevant international standards (and their monitoring mechanisms) over time to address the known and emerging gaps and to ensure that asset recovery and anti-corruption receive their due attention at relevant international fora.

Knowledge work

Our knowledge work, finally, informs and is informed by our policy and country work. In the past we have tackled such issues as non-conviction based confiscation, beneficial ownership, barriers to international cooperation and civil remedies to address corruption. We have also provided more practical handbooks on the asset recovery process and financial disclosure by high level officials to assist practitioners. Many of our publications are available in multiple languages.  In this line of work StAR also works with partners such as the IBA, the OECD and the Egmont Group. 

Making a difference

Through partnerships and policy work, StAR shapes the international asset recovery agenda. Our publications and participation in global policy events have influenced policy makers, along with international and private sector organizations engaged in asset recovery work.

StAR impacts asset recovery work by providing knowledge and expertise to practitioners directly involved in asset recovery work in their respective countries. In addition, a range of practical guides have been produced and disseminated in a number of languages which further augment StAR’s reach. StAR has also established and maintains a database of corruption cases for reference to policy makers and practitioners.

StAR further increases the capability of those working on asset recovery though hands-on training and technical assistance. It has provided knowledge and practical guidance, to thousands of practitioners from almost 70 countries in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe. It has also provided assistance on how to ‘follow the money’ to financial analysts, financial investigators, prosecutors, magistrates and judges around the world working on specific cases. StAR's impact further extends to facilitation of legislative development and supporting requesting jurisdictions in asset recovery cases.

StAR by the Numbers

19
Countries received StAR assistance in 2019
11
Countries received technical assistance on legislative reform in 2019
2
Countries adopted new laws or amendments related to asset recovery with support from StAR in 2019
670+
People trained by StAR in 2019
31
Global policy events contributed to by StAR in 2019
2
Countries receiving StAR assistance opened a new AR case involving proceeds of corruption in 2019
5
Countries received StAR support to improve domestic coordination processes in 2019
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Case Studies

Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR)

A StAR-organized platform to empower investigators and prosecutors charged with identifying and tracing assets and getting necessary cooperation with financial centers in recovering and return of assets

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GFAR logo

Working with the Republic of Kyrgyzstan

StAR has had a longstanding engagement with the Kyrgyz Republic with the goal to facilitate the country’s efforts to address corruption and improve recovery, and disbursement of stolen assets.

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Kyrgyzstan_Francisco Anzola/Flickr