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The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act

assetrecovery

Efforts by the U.S. government to combat foreign corruption are broader than just the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. For instance, approximately ten years ago the DOJ announced a Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.

Related to this general program, recently Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced H.R. 5101 – the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act “to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to pay rewards under an asset recovery rewards program to help identify and recover stolen assets linked to foreign government corruption and the proceeds of such corruption hidden behind complex financial structures in the United States and abroad.”

In pertinent part, the bill authorizes:

“In the sole discretion of the Secretary [of the Treasury] and in consultation, as appropriate, with the heads of other relevant Federal departments or agencies, the Secretary may pay a reward to any individual, or to any nonprofit organization designated by such individual, if that individual furnishes information leading to:

“(1) the restraining or seizure of stolen assets in an account at a U.S. financial institution (including a U.S. branch of a foreign financial institution), that come within the United States, or that come within the possession or control of any United States person;

“(2) the forfeiture of stolen assets in an account at a U.S. financial institution (including a U.S. branch of a foreign financial institution), that come within the United States, or that come within the possession or control of any United States person; or

“(3) where appropriate, the repatriation of stolen assets in an account at a U.S. financial institution (including a U.S. branch of a foreign financial institution), that come within the United States, or that come within the possession or control of any United States person.”

The bill contains the following relevant definitions:

  • “The term ‘foreign government corruption’ includes bribery of a foreign public official, or the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds or property by or for the benefit of a foreign public official.
  • “The term ‘foreign public official’ includes any person who occupies a public office by virtue of having been elected, appointed, or employed, including any military, civilian, special, honorary, temporary, or uncompensated official

[The FCPA’s definition of “foreign official” is “any officer or employee of a foreign government or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, or of a public international organization, or any person acting in an official capacity for or on behalf of any such government or department, agency, or instrumentality, or for or on behalf of any such public international organization.”]

As stated in this release:

“The bipartisan bill would help U.S. authorities combat terrorist financing and foreign government corruption by establishing a rewards program for whistleblowers.

[…]

The U.S. government already has a number of programs that reward individuals for information that leads to the identification and conviction of criminals, however this would be the first program designed to help recover stolen assets linked to foreign government corruption.

[…]

The bipartisan Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act is co-sponsored by Representatives Keith Rothfus (R-PA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Norma J. Torres(D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ted Budd (R-NC), and Michael Capuano(D-MA).”

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