How to Make Crime Pay for Society: Best International Experts share their Insights and Practices with the Ukrainian Members of Parliament with the EUACI support

How to Make Crime Pay for Society: Best International Experts share their Insights and Practices with the Ukrainian Members of Parliament with the EUACI support

Today, on 12 May, an outstanding lineup of asset management practitioners from all over the world shared their experience with Ukrainian MPs, government, and law enforcement on how to make management of seized and confiscated assets more effective and efficient in overall asset recovery process. While following the key principle that crime should not pay, the experts agreed that the essential prerequisites for that are concerted and trust-based actions of all stakeholders both nationally and internationally, strategic and tactical planning, knowledge and expertise, transparent and accountable procedures.

The event was co-hosted by the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI), which provides technical assistance particularly for the anti-corruption institutions in Ukraine, and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Anti-Corruption Policy (CAP).

EUACI Head of Programme Eka Tkeshelashvili and CAP Chairwoman Anastasiia Radina gave opening remarks emphasizing the aim of the discussion.

Eka Tkeshelashvili“Tracing of proceeds of crime and management of seized assets play an essential role in the fight against corruption. If this component of the justice system is not functioning well, there is no sufficient deterrence for corruption, which holds back the overall development of any country. The importance of the principle that the crime shall not pay cannot be overemphasized. Since 2017, EUACI has been at the forefront in providing technical assistance for developing and strengthening the anti-corruption framework in Ukraine, including the development of ARMA. The foundation has been laid in this direction, but there are lessons learned, further improvements that can be achieved. We are ready to share knowledge and best practice experience from EU member states and beyond.”

Ten distinguished experts from law enforcement agencies from the USA, UK, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands, and New Zealand conducted a thematic discussion to share best practices, and their own experiences and viewpoints on pre-seizure planning, managing seized assets, prejudgment and post-judgment sale of seized assets, and others. 

Frederic Pierson, Head of the Europol Criminal Assets Bureau (ECAB), gave a panel on the importance of effective asset management for society and how to make crime pay for society: “Solid asset management offices contribute to the citizens’ trust in the legal system of their country”.

Other highlights of the panel:

  • Jill Thomas, Asset Recovery Advisor: “Assets are managed for the benefit of the state or – very important – for the benefit of a victim”;

  • “Each country should have a state employee responsible for asset management. The state senior expert should advise the court, police, and prosecutor throughout the whole process of assets management”.

  • Anne Haller, Head of the Legal Office of the Agency for Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets (AGRASC), France: “The majority of assets should be eligible for pre-judiciary selling, as it is quite expensive to have long-term assets storage. For instance, France has a legal system that permits pre-judgment selling of assets”.

  • Jan Knobbe, Senior Asset Manager at the Dutch Asset Management Office: “You always have to think why you want to seize a company. Because it is always easier to have a running company rather than a bankrupt company to pay a fine”.

The moderators of the panel were Jill Thomas and Aidan Larkin, Asset Recovery & Asset Management Advisors, who also consult anti-corruption institutions under the EUACI assistance to Ukraine.

Aidan Larkin“Asset Recovery remains a challenge for all countries, with varying degrees of success. Ukraine has already established a solid foundation by creating a dedicated agency responsible for Asset Management, ARMA. Our mission is to increase the effectiveness of the asset management activity which in turn has the ability to generate more revenue for the people of Ukraine to fund the fight against corruption and serious organised crime. I’m proud to be working with EUACI and a diverse mix of dedicated stakeholders to ensure we can contribute to this important mission and not shy away from the challenges that lie ahead.”

Jill Thomas“International cooperation in the field of asset management is vital in achieving the ultimate goal of taking the wealth away from criminals. From an operational perspective, assets belonging to Ukraine criminals involved in organised crime and corruption are moved across the world and hidden in other countries. They will not only remain in Ukraine. Bringing together the key people who can reveal where those assets are and seize and manage them effectively on behalf of Ukraine is a major victory in the fight against criminality”.

The Asset Management Working Meeting was focused on improving the understanding, and application of asset management knowledge and practice in Ukraine.

The EU Anti-Corruption Initiative provides technical assistance to enhance the capacity, independence, and effectiveness of the anti-corruption infrastructure in Ukraine.

#AssetManagement #BestPractices #EUACIsupport

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