Exploring mechanisms for the return of proceeds of corruption

Think tank: RUSI

Author(s): Maria Nizzero

December 5, 2023

This report from UK think tank RUSI explores mechanisms for the return of proceeds of corruption.

In the report, Maria outlines how the amount of assets returned by destination countries to countries of origin represents only a minimal fraction of the total amount of proceeds lost to corruption.

In early 2022, it was estimated that about £6.7 billion of ‘questionable’ foreign funds had been invested in UK property alone. For the same year, however, the amount of proceeds of grand corruption recovered and returned to foreign governments totalled to just over £95 million and £240,610 respectively.

In 2022, the UK Government published a Framework for Transparent and Accountable Asset Return to increase consistency in how the proceeds of corruption are returned.

Maria argues, however, that the government still faces considerable challenges around choosing the right return mechanisms that would ensure enough decision-making freedom to the origin country without allowing the assets to fall back into a cycle of corruption.