The Absconded: Finding and Recovering Stolen Assets

neub9
By neub9
2 Min Read

The exciting portrayals of asset recovery can be captivating, as a thief and those in pursuit engage in a suspenseful pursuit. The realities of this work may be less glamorous, but Sam Taylor, head of corporate intelligence for the Americas at S-RM, a global consultancy firm, explains that a successful recovery is nonetheless impressive. In the world of movies, plots based on recovering money stolen by a thief make for dramatic storylines. However, the real actions of locating illegally run-off money involve combing through extensive datasets and navigating various jurisdictional challenges. Despite not being as glamorous as depicted in movies, the work of reclaiming wrongfully appropriated funds requires a high level of creativity and can offer mental stimulation.

The unique skill set required for asset recovery attracts talent from a wide range of specialties, including law, intelligence, cybersecurity, and investigative journalism. Individuals and entities are the two broad categories of absconders, with corporate cases being far more complex.

Recovering assets can take on many forms, including cash, land, vehicles, investment accounts, offshore accounts, rare artworks, and cryptocurrency. Patents, brands, subsidiaries, and revenue streams are also lucrative forms of hidden assets. Locating these assets becomes crucial when dealing with avoidance of enforcement.

The process of tracing assets can begin at any time, prior to the issuance of a civil action or after a lawsuit or arbitration has concluded. Data collection is the first step toward tracing assets, and this involves a combination of information and human intelligence. The data used to track absconded funds is often readily available to the public.

Recent tech innovations have made data collection easier, but roadblocks remain, such as jurisdictions that do not require limited liability companies to declare their beneficial owner. Foreign governments are making efforts to aid in the recovery of hidden assets, and authorities are cooperating at both domestic and international levels. However, challenges persist, especially in cross-border asset recovery where jurisdiction can become a significant obstacle.

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