Global Asset Forfeiture

Financial Intelligence Units or other government agencies throughout the world have a keen interest in searching for illicit assets and then forfeiting them.  This global interest in asset forfeiture is perhaps marked by the growth of  “goAML” software from The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  “GoAML” even includes “goATR”, which is asset tracking software designed to help government agencies search for and forfeit laundered assets.

The extent a given government agency may go to search for or forfeit illicit assets however, can very much depend on the money laundering or other laws within its jurisdiction.  A Swiss federal authorities webpage for instance, cites the following criminal laws which are generally relevant to both Swiss money laundering and asset forfeiture:

1. Art. 305bis, Swiss Criminal Code (Money Laundering).

2. Art. 305ter, Swiss Criminal Code (Insufficient Diligence in Financial Transactions and Right to Report).

3. Art. 260ter,  Swiss Criminal Code (Criminal Organisations).

4. Art. 260quinquies, Swiss Criminal Code (Financing Terrorism).

5. Art. 69 to 72, Swiss Criminal Code (Confiscation).

6. Art. 102 and 102a, Swiss Criminal Code (Corporate Criminal Responsibility).

U.S. government agencies like the Department of Justice can of course similarly seize and / or forfeit illicit assets hidden through money laundering or otherwise.  Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that property deposited during 2008 into The Assets Forfeiture Fund repository of seized assets, was valued at $1,327,604,903.

Some asset forfeiture laws used by the U.S. Department of Justice to interdict assets are listed in my article,”Using Multiple Jurisdictions To Launder Money“.  Said article describes the particular case of a judicial bribery scheme which originated in Italy and concealed assets in the U.S., among other places.   As “Using Multiple Jurisdictions To Launder Money” reveals, the U.S. Department of Justice sought asset forfeiture regarding that judicial bribery scheme, because of both U.S. and Italian laws:

  • 18 U.S.C. §984— Asset forfeiture of identical property within one year of a laundering offense, etc;
  • 18 U.S.C. §1957— Money Laundering of property from specified unlawful activity;
  • 18 U.S.C. §2314— Interstate or foreign transfer of property obtained by fraud;
  • 28 U.S.C. §1345— U.S. District Court jurisdiction where the Government is plaintiff;
  • Italian Criminal Code Articles 319ter and 321, Bribery in judicial acts.

Copyright 2009-2012 Fred L. Abrams