Asset Recovery Agreement

The UNCAC (Article 53) provides for the direct recovery of assets, with a foreign state being able to bring a civil action in a foreign jurisdiction to establish ownership and ownership of the property. It also means that courts should be able to compensate or compensate a foreign state and recognize them as rightful owners of property. We therefore urge the Swiss Government to take these concerns into account and to take them into account in any agreement it may conclude with the Uzbek Government. Asset recovery, as described in the UNCAC`s Un Convention against Corruption (Chapter V), concerns the process in which corruption income transferred abroad is recovered and repatriated to the country from which it was taken or to its rightful owners. The entire process of asset recovery is based primarily on effective cooperation between legal systems. Mutual legal assistance is contained in the UNCAC (articles 46; 54-57) and States are required to “accord each other the widest degree of mutual legal assistance in investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings”. In accordance with article 57 of the UNCAC, the return of assets is organized as follows: concealed money laundering or mixing of illegally acquired assets with legitimate funds or assets to conceal their origin, making it all the more difficult to find them. This is made possible by certain financial centres where financial service providers (or “Gatekeepers”) help to conceal the income generated by illegal activities. While this Memorandum of Understanding and the terms of asset return set out therein are a welcome step forward, concerns and questions remain unresolved. Thirdly, we believe that the requirement of responsibility simply cannot be met until the rule of law is established in the country. The Bar Association is still under the direct control of the Uzbek Ministry of Justice.

There are no open and transparent public procurement systems or conflict of interest clauses. Due process rights are prohibited and selectively enforced. A number of other anti-corruption mechanisms have not yet been put in place by the government, without which it is very likely that there will be abuse in the issuance of returned assets. We call on the Uzbek and Swiss authorities to ensure that the demand for accountability is not met by words, but by laws. Secondly, the inclusion of the word “potential” with regard to the participation of non-governmental organizations leaves a loophole for the Uzbek government to ignore the role of civil society in this matter. We also note that the word “independent” with regard to civil society is missing in the MoU. We would like to ask that it be admitted in order to avoid the risk that organizations controlled by the Uzbek government (called “GONGOs”) are included in the representation of civil society, which would seriously compromise the work done so far. .

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