Even if corruption is identified and exposed, victims rarely recover all the assets that have been stolen. This is usually because of one simple reason: the assets cannot be found. To benefit from gains of their corrupt activities, the perpetrators of such offences will usually need to insert these assets into the financial system.
Money laundering and asset recovery go hand-in-hand:
- Money laundering is the criminal activity that a person, following the commission of a predicate offence, commits in order to hide the true origin, nature and ownership of their criminal proceeds.
- Asset recovery, on the other hand, is the action investigative and prosecutorial authorities conduct to trace those unlawful assets, seize them from the perpetrators and restore them to their rightful owner.
Asset recovery thus refers to the process by which these proceeds of crime are identified, traced, seized, confiscated and returned to their rightful owners (which may include states, state owned enterprises as well as private individuals or private legal entities).