Cayman’s new Anti-Corruption Commission
The cross-border flow of the proceeds of crime is anecdotally estimated to be huge. And the proceeds of public corruption are part of this. No-one knows for sure what the amounts are or where they end up, but they are sufficiently large and damaging, particularly to developing nations, that there is a concerted and coordinated international effort to tackle the problem. Developing nations (the victims) and financial centres (onshore and offshore) all play a critical role in the implementation and success of the project.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank Group launched the Stolen Asset Recovery initiative (StAR) in 2007. The full report can be found at www.worldbank.org/star. The international framework that underpins StAR is the 2005 UN Convention Against Corruption (Convention) (www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNCAC/Publications/Conventions/08-50026_E.pdf). The goals of StAR are:
- to reduce barriers to asset recovery and thereby encourage and facilitate more systematic and timely return of stolen assets
- to encourage international collaboration and collective action to facilitate asset recovery and prevent asset theftThe goals are to be achieved through:
- building capacity in developing nations
- assistance in stolen asset recovery
- provision of knowledge and advocacy
The long term action plan is:
- to fully implement the Convention in as many developed and developing countries as possible
- to develop and strengthen partnerships with multilateral and bilateral agencies (FATF, OECD etc)
- to develop a pilot programme to give legal and technical assistance to countries in recovering stolen assets
- to offer countries assistance in monitoring recovered assets to ensure transparency and proper use of those assets
The specific work plan adopted in 2008 for 2009-2010 (also available at www.worldbank.org/star) acknowledges that progress has been slow, particularly in the development of demand for StAR support in victim countries. The immediate priorities are now:
- reducing the barriers to asset recovery through research, knowledge products and advocacy. This means providing tools to global practitioners to work on asset recovery cases and developing policies aimed at lowering the barriers to asset recovery in financial centres.
- developing national asset recovery programmes. This means building national capacity in victim countries, i.e. training people and providing technical assistance within these countries.Funding for the project is partially from the UNODC and the World Bank. Additional specific funding is being provided by Norway and Sweden.
Cayman already has a strong compliance culture and a broad array of tools that enable it to provide cross-border assistance that will be relevant and helpful in the implementation of the StAR project, e.g. the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Law, the Misuse of Drugs Law, the Monetary Authority Law (and other regulatory laws), the Proceeds of Crime Law and the Terrorism Law. The Anti-Corruption Law 2008 that will become effective on 1 January 2010 is the final piece in the statutory armoury.