Launch of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Asia Pacific

    Criminals make a huge amount of profit from the proceeds of crime which they use to live luxurious life styles, expand their organized groups and re-invest in further criminality.  Depriving criminals of their proceeds damages their ability to operate, removes the profit and acts as a deterrent.

    In the East Asia and the Pacific region alone, the illicit flow of money derived from transnational organized crimes amounts to 90 billion USD per year and the global annual profits from transnational organized crimes amount to some 870 billion USD, figures recently published in the UNODC Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment report.

    Taking note of the imminent need to target proceeds of crime, 28 law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies from 21 jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific and 6 international organizations including UNODC gathered in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 19-20 November 2013 for the Inaugural General Meeting of Asset Recovery Interagency Network of Asia and the Pacific, so called "ARIN-AP" and agreed to launch "ARIN-AP" for expedited informal interagency cooperation on asset recovery across borders.

    In his opening remarks at the official launch of the network which was organized by the Supreme Prosecutors' Office of Korea, acting Prosecutor General Mr Taegi Gil said " There  is a saying, 'coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success', I am sure that if we join forces, we can establish an outstanding system for international cooperation and eradicate transnational crimes through successful asset recovery," The Supreme Prosecutors' Office of Korea will undertake the role of ARIN-AP's Secretariat.

    During a later presentation on his experiences in cross border asset recovery and best practice, Mr. Ganzorig Gombosun, Chair of International Cooperation, Office of the Prosecutor General of Mongolia said,  "By way of close cooperation with an agency of a foreign country from which a large  amount of illicit money was invested in  Mongolia,  the Mongolian Prosecutor's Office successfully confiscated and returned the money to the foreign agency".

    The idea of regional asset recovery networks came with the establishment of the Camden Asset Recovery Interagency Network which currently serves Europe and North America.  Followed by the Asset Recovery Interagency Network of Southern Africa, so called "ARIN-SA" and RRAG (Red de Recuperación de Activos de GAFISUD, the network for Latin American countries) ARIN-AP is an outcome of the continuous efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime GPML (Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism) and ROSEAP(Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific).

    "By following, identifying, securing, freezing and ultimately confiscating or forfeiting the proceeds of crime, we cripple the criminal enterprise, help prevent the reinvestment in crime and deprive criminals of the opportunity to enjoy the proceeds of their illicit activities." Mr. Yury Fedotov said in his congratulatory message delivered to the meeting participants. "ARIN-AP, like its sister organizations will provide a platform for the jurisdictions of Asia Pacific to work together at an informal level to quickly share intelligence and identify and seize criminal assets. And so I encourage those Member States present to become full and active members of this network."

    On behalf of World Bank in charge of StAR (Stolen Asset Recovery) initiative, Ms. Lindy Muzila complimented the launch of ARIN-AP and said, "The StAR network, a global network established in cooperation with INTERPOL to combat corruption, will support regional Asset Recovery Interagency Networks through connective coordination".

    ARIN-AP will be made up of national contact points designated by member countries in Asia and the Pacific, and those contact points are inter-connected through the Secretariat. Over the coming months some 47 jurisdictions from across the Asia Pacific region will be invited to join the network. Through promoting 'informal' direct communication among contact points for efficient asset recovery prior or during 'formal mutual legal assistance, ARIN-AP will establish itself as a center of information and expertise, and promote exchange of information and best practice. ARIN-AP will work for mutual benefit of countries in this region as well as for inter-regional cooperation with other regional Asset Recovery Interagency Networks, which will include those mentioned earlier as well as newly developing ones in the East and West of Africa.

    Indonesia will hold the Presidency of ARIN-AP for 2014 and next year's Annual General Meeting will be held in Yogyakarta in May organized by the Indonesian Attorney General's Office.