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Over the past decade, countries have increasingly used settlements-that is, any procedure short of a full trial-to conclude foreign bribery cases and have imposed billions in monetary sanctions. There exists a gap in knowledge, however, regarding settlement practices around the world and the disposition of these monetary sanctions-notably through the lens of recovery of stolen assets. Left out of the Bargain, a study by the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), provides an overview of settlement practices by civil and common law countries that have been active in the fight against foreign bribery. Using the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as its point of reference, the study addresses concerns voiced by the international community: What happens to the money associated with the settlements, and is it being returned to those most directly harmed by the corrupt practices? And what can be done to assist those countries harmed by foreign bribery? Left out of the Bargain has found that 395 settlement cases took place between 1999 and mid-2012, resulting in a total of US$6.9 billion in monetary sanctions imposed against companies and individuals. Of this amount, nearly US$6 billion came from settlements that took place in a country different from that of the allegedly bribed foreign public officials. But only about US$197 million, or 3 percent, has been returned or ordered returned to the countries whose officials were accused of accepting bribes. Left out of the Bargain urges countries whose officials were allegedly bribed to intensify their efforts to investigate and prosecute the providers and recipients of foreign bribes, hence improving these countries' prospects for recovery of assets lost through corruption. The study also calls for more proactive international cooperation and coordination to ensure that all affected countries are afforded the opportunity to seek redress for harms suffered and for the recovery of assets-thus fulfilling the principles set out in UNCAC.
Billions in corrupt assets, complex money trails, strings of shell companies and other spurious legal structures. These form the complex web of subterfuge in corruption cases, behind which hides the beneficial owner- the Puppet Master and beneficiary of it all. Linking the beneficial owner to the proceeds of corruption is notoriously hard. With sizable wealth and resources on their side, they exploit transnational constructions that are hard to penetrate and stay aggressively ahead of the game. Nearly all cases of grand corruption have one thing in common. They rely on corporate vehicles- legal structures such as companies, foundations and trusts -- to conceal ownership and control of tainted assets. The Misuse of Corporate Vehicles takes these corporate vehicles as its angle of investigation. It builds upon cases, interviews with investigators, corporate registries and financial institutions, as well as a 'mystery shopping' exercise that provide factual evidence of a criminal practice. This approach is used to understand the nature of the problem and design policy recommendations to facilitate the investigative process by unraveling the complex world of CVs. This lucidly written report is solidly built on step-by step arguments and designed to deliver practical, applicable and well substantiated recommendations. It is intended for use by policy makers in developing national legislation and regulation as well as international standard setters. It also provides helpful information for practitioners engaged in investigating corrupt officials and academics involved in the study of financial crime.
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