Guideline 3: Investigation
Involved jurisdictions should develop a comprehensive investigative and legal strategy for the case in consultation with all concerned public institutions.
Developing a comprehensive investigative and legal strategy is essential for successful asset recovery. A strategy will assist to ensure that resources may be allocated and prioritised adequately so that the case proceeds in the most efficient manner with the highest likelihood of recovering assets.
In complex and/or high profile cases, the strategy should be developed in consultation (as appropriate) with all relevant national public institutions (see Guideline 1 Step 6 "Domestic coordination"). These may include law enforcement agencies and prosecutorial authorities, as well as representatives from tax, customs, justice, foreign affairs, treasury, immigration, the FIU, regulatory or supervising authorities, the central authority, and the asset management authority. This consultation allows agencies to work together with a common purpose – the efficient recovery of stolen assets.
The strategy should designate a domestic lead authority, outline responsibilities and consider all legal avenues (including administrative, civil and criminal). Sequencing of the lines of inquiry should be agreed, including the initiation of an investigation, exchange of information and submission of requests for MLA. The strategy should be regularly reviewed throughout the asset recovery process.
A nationally coordinated approach helps in establishing which agency should lead the execution of the investigation strategy, including whether multiple agencies have an interest in submitting a request for MLA.
Sequencing of the lines of inquiry, including methods for collecting information, intelligence and evidence should also be agreed. Where possible informal methods (e.g. open source information (see Guideline 1), intelligence gathering (see Guideline 1) or other sources of information (see Guideline 4)) should be used prior to formal methods (see Guideline 9) (e.g. MLA).
Operational meetings should allow for regular revision of the case strategy, to determine whether the lead investigating agency requires additional assistance or resources, or even to reassign the investigation. Developments and revisions to the strategy should be communicated to all involved agencies as appropriate, including contact points in involved jurisdictions.