The proceeds of crime are identified, located, frozen and evidence in respect of ownership of these assets is collated to allow for a seizure order to subsequently be made.
This is the stage during which investigative and prosecutorial authorities in both the requesting and requested jurisdictions need to choose the appropriate tool(s) to achieve the desired results (e.g., evidence gathering, freezing or seizure of assets). It is important to understand that this phase relates to both the original offence as well as the actions taken to launder the proceeds derived from this original (predicate) offence.
The investigative stage is a double-faceted process that aims to both locate and freeze stolen funds, as well as to link them to the commission of an illegal act. Thus in this stage it is important to focus on both establishing sufficient evidence of the criminality of the original action that generated the assets in question as well as on unravelling the specific techniques of money laundering that were adopted by the perpetrators to launder these assets.
- Who (individuals, companies) was involved in the commission of the offence?
- What was the damage of the offence, i.e. what was taken or what proceeds of crime were generated?
- When did the offence take place?
- Where did the offence take place? Where were the proceeds of crime transferred to, and where are they located now?
- Why did the perpetrators commit the offence? What was the motive behind the commission of this offence?
- How was the offence committed? How were the proceeds of crime generated? How were they transferred?