U.S. to Boost Support for Middle Eastern and North African Countries in Recovering Proceeds of Corruption
The Department of State, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, will provide more than $2.5 million to support ongoing efforts in the Middle East and North Africa to recover stolen assets and fight corruption. This action is in keeping with pledges made by members of the G-8 Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition. In New York today, Secretary Clinton and other foreign ministers from the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition recognized the important progress in this area and expressed support for continued follow-up. Through this funding and collaboration in tracing and returning assets, the United States will strengthen its commitment to countries in the region that welcome our assistance to recover stolen assets that are vital to their future.
On September 13, at the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery in Doha, Qatar, Attorney General Holder announced that the United States will appoint two Department of Justice attorneys to work exclusively with Deauville transition countries and their regional partners on asset recovery and mutual legal assistance issues. This will be accomplished through case development and coordination with the DOJ's Kleptocracy Team to identify and trace assets, and through capacity building to increase the effectiveness of transnational financial and corruption investigations. This effort is part of U.S. support for the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition and the Asset Recovery Action Plan adopted in May.
The U.S. Department of State is providing $1 million to the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) – a joint initiative of the World Bank and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that provides expertise, advice, and capacity building to help countries pursue proceeds of corruption concealed abroad. The funding will permit StAR to undertake training and mentoring activities in the region, to support implementation of the Action Plan, and pursue effective asset recovery.
The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition Asset Recovery Action Plan contains reciprocal commitments by the G-8 and regional governments to support asset recovery and efforts to combat corruption through legal reform, case cooperation, and capacity-building. (See www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/190483.htm) The Arab Forum on Asset Recovery brought together senior officials and expert practitioners from 36 countries, and going forward will serve as a network of expertise and knowledge and as a vehicle for coordination for follow-up action to the Plan. (See http://www1.worldbank.org/finance/star_site/Arab-Forum/index.html)