This week I returned to Barbados to facilitate a Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Seminar, funded by the U.S. Department of State.
As criminally acquired assets can be located in a number of different States, MLA is an essential process to speedily freeze property to prevent dissipation and to enforce confiscation or civil recovery orders. Without communication and a lack of specialist knowledge, MLA can be challenging. To be effective MLA requires coordinated international cooperation to trace, identify, freeze and recover criminal assets.
To address the challenges, I facilitated a Seminar with Paul Garlick QC, to establish a regional MLA Network for asset recovery matters. The Network will have single points of contact in each Central Authority to process asset recovery requests quickly. The Seminar was also an opportunity to address how to enhance MLA monitoring processes with Directors of Public Prosecution, Financial Intelligence Units and Attorneys from the Central Authorities.
The network will develop essential tools to equip regional practitioners with the required knowledge to use MLA proactively. This will include an Asset Recovery MLA Fiches and a regional online platform.
There is much to be done and I look forward to returning to the region in the near future to continue with this most important project.