OSCE hosts panel discussion on asset recovery at the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Vilnius

OSCE Secretariat – 24 June 2024
The 21st International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) brought together leading activists, community actors, private sector, government practitioners and international organizations from across the globe to Vilnius, Lithuania, to discuss common challenges and opportunities in the fight against corruption, from 18 to 21 June.
With more than 90 thematic workshops under the theme of “Confronting Global Threats: Standing Up for Integrity”, the IACC is a forum for debate and exchange of experiences on how existing international and national commitments can be translated into concrete actions to end corruption.
The OSCE actively contributed to the conference by hosting a workshop on asset recovery that focused on the findings of the “Good practices in asset recovery legislation in selected OSCE participating States”. This comparative report outlines established good practices and identifies innovative legal provisions that may serve as inspiration for other states in advancing their asset recovery mechanisms. Its findings serve to inform policies to recover illicitly gained assets and are crucial for successfully combatting organized crime and corruption. Ranging from civil forfeiture laws to social reuse, the study provides tools and lessons with relevance for multiple stakeholders.

The report, published with the Basel Institute on Governance, examines asset recovery legislation in 18 OSCE participating States and was prepared as part of the “Strengthening Asset Recovery Efforts in the OSCE Region” project implemented by the OSCE’s Transnational Threats Department and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

Moderated by Prof. Anita Ramasastry, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Corruption, the workshop panel included experts from the OSCE, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Basel Institute on Governance as well as a practitioner’s perspective from Italy and a civil society contribution from Romania.
Mr. Ralf Ernst, Deputy Co-ordinator/Head, Economic Activities at OCEEA, provided an overview of the support that his Office and the Transnational Threats Department provide to participating States in seizing, confiscating and managing assets of criminal and corrupt origin.

The Special Investigation Commission (SIC) is a multi-function financial intelligence unit (FIU) with judicial status. It is the center piece of Lebanon’s AML/CFT regime, a platform for international cooperation and plays a vital role in safeguarding concerned sectors from illicit proceeds.
The SIC’s tasks include receiving and analyzing suspicious transaction reports (STRs), conducting financial investigations, lifting banking secrecy, freezing accounts and/or transactions and forwarding them to concerned judicial authorities. 
With respect to terrorism and the financing of terrorism, the SIC is also empowered to prevent the use of movable or immovable assets. In addition to sharing ML/TF intelligence with counterparts and coordinating with foreign/local competent authorities on requests of assistance (ROAs), the SIC also proposes AML/CFT regulations and issues regulations and recommendations to concerned parties. 
AML/CFT supervision via risk based compliance examinations that cover banks and other reporting entities to ensure proper implementation of prevailing regulations is also among its tasks.

Law No. 44 criminalizes illicit proceeds that are derived from the following offences:

1. The growing, manufacturing, or illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and/or psychotropic substances according to the Lebanese laws. 
2. The participation in illegal associations with the intention of committing crimes and misdemeanors. 
3. Terrorism, according to the provisions of Lebanese laws. 
4. The financing of terrorism or terrorist acts and any other related activities (travel, organizing, training, recruiting…) or the financing of individuals or terrorist organizations, according to the provisions of Lebanese laws. 
5. Illicit arms trafficking. 
6. Kidnapping, using weapons or any other means. 
7. Insider trading, breach of confidentiality, hindering of auctions, and illegal speculation. 
8. Incitation to debauchery and offence against ethics and public decency by way of organized gangs. 
9. Corruption, including bribery, trading in influence, embezzlement, abuse of functions, abuse of power, and illicit enrichment. 
10. Theft, breach of trust, and embezzlement. 
11. Fraud, including fraudulent bankruptcy. 
12. The counterfeiting of public and private documents and instruments, including checks and credit cards of all types and the counterfeiting of money, stamps and stamped papers. 
13. Smuggling, according to the provisions of the Customs Law. 
14. The counterfeiting of goods and fraudulent trading in counterfeit goods. 
15. Air and maritime piracy. 
16. Trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants. 
17. Sexual exploitation, including sexual exploitation of children. 
18. Environmental crimes. 
19. Extortion. 
20. Murder. 
21. Tax evasion, in accordance with the Lebanese laws

Money-laundering operations may occur in any business especially:  
· Banks  
· Other financial institutions (insurance, mutual funds, etc.)  
· Money exchange firms  
· Antique dealers  
· Real estate concerns  
· Jewelry dealers