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. One area of support has been providing advice on draft regulation on the procedure for returning criminal proceeds from abroad. The regulations outline the steps needed to be taken to request asset recovery-related assistance from abroad. In addition, StAR assists practitioners to build contacts with jurisdictions of interest for Kyrgyzstan in terms of asset recovery.
Based on feedback from the Kyrgyz authorities, StAR assistance has considerably improved the dynamics of their asset recovery efforts. The authorities have been able to prioritize their targeted jurisdictions and use their limited resources more efficiently. In particular, StAR support facilitated the establishment of close working relations between the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) and its counterpart in the U.S. This positive dynamic contributed to the repatriation of USD 4.6 million from the U.S. to Kyrgyzstan. The assets in question were stolen from the Kyrgyz government by Maxim Bakiyvev, the youngest son of former president of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and his inner circle. On February 25th, 2019, the government of Kyrgyzstan and the United States signed a joint statement highlighting the details of this return.
StAR assistance also strengthened contacts between the Kyrgyz Republic and various other jurisdictions important for the country’s asset recovery cases. Prior to engaging with StAR, Kyrgyz authorities had limited contacts with counterparts outside the Commonwealth of Independent States. StAR organized video conferences between the authorities in Bishkek and US, and practitioners from multiple other jurisdictions.
In an acknowledgement of StAR’s work with authorities, a Kyrgyz delegate at the 13th session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery made the following statement which underscores the importance of the work StAR does, and how it has aided the Kyrgyz Republic:
I would like to once again note that with the assistance of the StAR Initiative, we have been able to significantly advance in terms of establishing direct contacts with the competent authorities of foreign countries…[including] ongoing cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the U.S. Department of Justice in the area of the recovery of criminal proceeds under the UNCAC.