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Prosecutor General's Office tells about efforts to return stolen assets

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Kyrgyzstan is actively engaged in countering money laundering and return of stolen assets. Press service of the main supervisory body reported.

According to it, this issue became particularly relevant after the April events of 2010, when a number of criminal cases were opened against members of the Bakiyevs family and their close associates on the facts of corruption and money laundering. The Prosecutor General’s Office is working on the search, seizure and confiscation of criminal assets for their return to Kyrgyzstan.

On December 10, 2003, the country adopted the UN Convention against Corruption, ratified by the country’s parliament on August 6, 2005. It, among other things, spells out forms of international cooperation and measures to return the assets obtained by criminal means. The Prosecutor General’s Office has been designated as responsible for its implementation body of Kyrgyzstan. In addition, in 2018, a government decree approved the Regulation on Implementation of International Cooperation.

According to this document, the Prosecutor General’s Office, financial intelligence unit, law enforcement agencies and national security agencies, as well as the Judicial Department (regarding execution of a judicial act or executive document) were chosen as authorized bodies for the return of funds withdrawn by illegal (criminal) means from Kyrgyzstan.

«It should be noted that the process of proving illegal origin of funds is complex and lengthy, requiring high professionalism, close cooperation of all competent authorities, including with the competent authorities of foreign countries,» the statement says.

The Prosecutor General’s Office actively cooperates with the competent authorities of the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and China, as well as with various international institutions in this direction.

For example, it is working closely with StAR Initiative (it is a joint asset recovery mechanism of UNODC and the World Bank), with the Basel Institute on Governance for Asset Recovery, with informal networks in the Asia-Pacific, West and Central Asia (ARIN-AP and ARIN-WCA), whose activities are focused on detection and recovery of criminal assets.

«Law firms that specialize in search of stolen assets are involved. For example, we can note positive practice of cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Office and the American law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, which was able to help the Kyrgyz Republic to detect and return the criminal assets of the Bakiyevs family from the United States. To further strengthen the search and return of other criminal assets of Bakiyevs family members, the Prosecutor General’s Office plans to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,» the main supervisory body stressed.

Progress has been achieved in negotiations between the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Council of Europe Secretariat on the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the European conventions on the extradition of criminals and on mutual legal assistance in criminal cases in the near future.