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Governments must act now to tighten money laundering laws and identify and repatriate stolen assets

Lack of transparency in banking and slow implementation of financial reforms are thwarting efforts to repatriate stolen assets. Some governments have recently moved quickly to freeze potentially illicit assets of corrupt leaders. It is equally important that repatriation of these assets does not suffer the fate of assets frozen in the past.

On 20 March 2011 the Board of Transparency International (TI) unanimously passed a resolution reiterating the Bangkok Declaration passed by the entire membership of the TI movement in November 2010, calling for the intensification of action from the international community to tighten money laundering laws and to enforce due diligence rules to identify assets from politically-exposed persons which might derive from illegal sources.

The international banking community, bank regulators and law enforcers should urgently intensify measures to curb the continuing flow of illicit funds and to accelerate the repatriation of those funds.

“Banks who neglected to apply due diligence norms when presented with deposits from dictators and their families, should take greater responsibility to those from whom these assets were stolen," said TI Chair, Huguette Labelle. "As it stands, millions of dollars lie frozen in accounts, earning interest, and controlled by the very banks who should not have accepted them in the first place."

The Bangkok Declaration calls for The World Bank and/or Regional Development Banking Institutions to create escrow accounts for frozen assets and that all governments and the international community should, as a matter of priority, ensure the swift transfer of all frozen assets to these accounts.

Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

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Deborah Wise Unger, Media and Public Relations Manager
Transparency International
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
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