Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK commits to combatting corruption and recovering assets: UK statement to the EEC [April 2024]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 11 April 2024.

Justin Addison, UK Delegation to the OSCE, outlines the UK’s approach to asset recovery to the OSCE’s Economic and Environmental Committee.

One of the enduring challenges in tackling corruption is untangling the complex web of corporate structures used to launder criminal proceeds and hide stolen assets. In the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the UK is fully committed to recovering and returning corruptly-obtained assets in accordance with due process. Whilst this can take time, it ensures a fair and transparent approach.

The UK published its first ever Framework for Transparent and Accountable Asset Return in January 2022. This document is a key transparency indicator which sets out the UK’s policy for returning assets, including the stakeholders to be engaged, deduction of reasonable expenses by law enforcement, and potential mechanisms for return. In September we published statistics on the proceeds.

These are a few ways the UK is helping combat corruption and recovering assets.

The UK’s National Economic Crime Centre ensures beneficial ownership data both in the UK and around the world is not only transparent and reliable, but also published in a structured, machine-readable format which meets the Beneficial Ownership Data Standards.

We are developing a new capability dedicated to asset tracing, using new technology and datasets from private sector vendors to provide access to more data than is currently possible, and so identify more criminal assets for recovery.

Last year the UK published the Economic Crime Plan 2, which establishes a new Crypto Cell, combining law enforcement agencies and regulators to pool expertise and enforcement tools to tackle the criminal abuse of crypto assets.

To support Ukraine with its reconstruction following Russia’s illegal and brutal war of aggression, the UK is funding a Digital Restoration Ecosystem for Accountable Management online platform, to provide end-to-end transparency on the planning, selection, procurement, and delivery of all reconstruction projects. As of last July, more than 1,600 projects are being tracked, allowing oversight by government, civil society and international partners.

Finally, this is an area of work that requires international cooperation. The UK encourages participating States to give due consideration to civil measures, i.e. non-conviction-based confiscation, that may be used to recover assets, and to recognise UK civil orders where possible. This gives law enforcement a further tool to tackle corruption.

Thank you.