The lack of final court decisions is one of the main obstacles to the return of assets obtained by criminal means from abroad. This problem is relevant not only for Ukraine. Representatives of anti-corruption bodies identified the most serious challenges during the II International Expert Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 7-9, 2019.
“The process of asset recovery cannot be treated superficially, relying on the fact that the requested party recalculates the stolen funds. This complex negotiation process involves many steps, takes time and efforts. Only perseverance and focus on results can make it effective and efficient,” said Oleksandr Skomarov, the Deputy Head of the Detective Division at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). He shared the NABU experience on the identification and seizure of assets abroad at the meeting. The discussion of Ukrainian cases turned out to be quite interesting and productive, thanks to the participants' awareness of the progress of anti-corruption reform in Ukraine and the NABUs role in it.
For three days, experts analyzed the successful experience of the UN member countries, identified common obstacles to international cooperation in asset recovery and innovative ways to overcome them. Key issues include: a crisis of confidence; fears that assets obtained by criminal means and returned to the country will be involved in corruption schemes again; the need to improve communication between the competent authorities of different countries and their interaction in the process of asset recovery; support from international institutions (for example, the World Bank), their involvement in the process of asset recovery.
70 international experts attended the meeting. The event was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) together with the governments of Ethiopia and Switzerland.