The 3rd Asset Recovery Technical Assistance Providers Coordination Meeting held in Belgrade

“Without confiscation of property, there is no fight against crime” was a clear message of the 3rd Asset Recovery Technical Assistance Providers Coordination Meeting held in Belgrade today, which gathered representatives of EUROPOL, OSCE, EU Delegations in the region, UNODC, UNDP as well as technical assistance providers involved in the asset recovery reform in the region.

The meeting is a part of the regional coordination initiative undertaken under the framework of the Regional Project: Combating Corruption in the Western Balkans: Strengthening regional cooperation in the field of asset recovery implemented by the AIRE Centre and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, with the support of the United Kingdom Government.

The meeting had several objectives, including fostering coordination between the existing and the new asset recovery projects in the region with the view of avoiding duplication of efforts, as well as determining potential areas for collaboration amongst the existing and future endeavours.

Participants shared information about their current and future projects in the Western Balkans, jointly identified gaps in assistance through discussion, and shared lessons learned aiming to pinpoint the most common obstacles for the effective provision of technical assistance as well as ideas how to mitigate them.

“Benefits of asset recovery play a key role in the fight against corruption and organized crime. Dissemination and exchange of good practices in this area have the potential to improve the efficiency and application of this institute. Practitioners will tell you how exhausting this process can be, but given that there is no fight against organized crime and corruption without it, it becomes clear how important support in this area is” said Biljana Braithwaite, director of the AIRE Center for the Western Balkans.

The AIRE Center and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative presented the Asset Recovery Experts Network. This network will connect experienced judges, prosecutors and experts from across the region. Such activities, together with continuous work on education and strengthening of institutions, will improve cooperation in the region. Also, an online platform for connecting experts and informing the public was presented. Desislava Gotskova, Head of the Secretariat of the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, stressed the importance of connecting and cooperating between jurisdictions.

“Regional cooperation is necessary for the effective fight against corruption and organized crime in the region of Southeast Europe. Crime and corruption know no borders, especially when it comes to hiding the proceeds of crime from the authorities. Therefore, effective regional cooperation is necessary through support to prosecutors and the judiciary in the efficient identification, freezing and confiscation of illegally acquired property, “ Gotskova said.


“The Western Balkans region has progressed rapidly in terms of legal and institutional asset recovery capacity in the recent 10-15 years. This progress is in part as the result of considerable technical assistance provided by external providers and support from the international community. The laws and procedures needed to remove wealth from criminals in the region are complex and require close inter-agency cooperation in jurisdictions to be successful. Technical assistance providers work with the many different judicial agencies involved in the asset recovery chain including police, customs, prosecution services, asset recovery office, asset management offices and the courts. The focus of this assistance includes both domestic and international asset recovery, financial investigation, asset sequestration, asset management, confiscation, disposal and the social re-use of confiscated assets. Today’s meeting will raise awareness among technical assistance providers of current and future planned asset recovery projects in the western Balkan region and therefore avoid any duplication of efforts. Technical assistance providers will identify areas for cross-collaboration of asset recovery support for the maximum benefit of the authorities in the Western Balkans working on asset recovery. The overall aim is to increase the amount of assets confiscated from criminals in western Balkan jurisdictions” concluded Jill Thomas, international expert in confiscation and asset management, and one of the moderators of today’s meeting.

This meeting represents a follow-up to the two online meetings of leading technical assistance providers in the region, held earlier. Read more about previous meetings:

Regional Donor Coordination Meeting organised by AIRE Centre and RAI Secretariat

2nd Regional Coordination Meeting of Asset Recovery Technical Assistance Providers in the Western Balkans