Bill Spotlights Efforts to Return Stolen Assets to Victims of Corruption
Measure Calls for a Public Directory of Funds Recovered from Corrupt Foreign Officials
A Media Statement from the U.S. Office of Transparency International
June 9, 2021
Today, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and John Curtis (R-UT) announced the introduction of the Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act (JVOK). The bill would establish a centralized, publicly accessible online directory to track funds stolen from other countries by corrupt actors and hidden in the U.S. before being seized by the U.S. government.
Transparency International’s U.S. Office (TI-US) issued the following statement on the introduction of the bill:
Every year, corrupt foreign officials steal tens of billions of dollars from their country’s national treasuries. That’s billions that won’t be available for health care, economic development, education, infrastructure, and more.
Stolen funds, when found parked in the U.S., must be returned, but not to the same corrupt governments whose officials stole them in the first place. Identifying appropriate aid organizations can take time, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for excessive delay.
This bill is an important first step in ensuring the timely return of stolen funds. By shining a light on the large sums that await repatriation to their home countries, we can apply healthy pressure on our own government to act quickly.
We recognize the challenge of returning money stolen by corrupt officials to their home countries in ways that will actually reach and benefit the people of those countries. But as a country committed to the rule of law, the United States has an obligation to act. In fact, the health, welfare, and economic sustainability of those home countries may depend on it.
This bill helps shine a healthy light on our own government’s efforts to ensure justice for victims of corrupt regimes. We thank Sens. Rubio and Blumenthal and Reps. Malinowski and Curtis for their leadership, and urge Congress to pass the bill quickly.
Transparency International is the world’s largest coalition against corruption. We give voices to victims and witnesses of corruption, and work with governments, businesses, and citizens to stop the abuse of entrusted power. In collaboration with national chapters in more than 100 countries, we are leading the fight to turn our vision of a world free from corruption into reality.
Our U.S. office focuses on stemming the harms caused by illicit finance, strengthening political integrity, and promoting a positive U.S. role in global anti-corruption initiatives. Through a combination of research, advocacy, and policy, we engage with stakeholders to increase public understanding of corruption and hold institutions and individuals accountable.
- Read the text of the Justice for Victims of Kleptocracy Act
- TI-US Factsheet on JVOK
- TI Report: Recommendations on Asset and Interest Declarations for OGP Action Plans
Scott Greytak, Advocacy Director, Transparency International U.S. Office