Media Center

Press Release


  March 28, 2005

Anti-corruption experts are meeting at the Organization of American States’ (OAS) headquarters in Washington to discuss strategies to deny safe haven to corrupt officials and corrupting individuals. Also on the agenda for the two-day meeting that opened Monday are such key topics as confiscation of ill-gotten gain and property as well as cooperation on extradition.

Chairman of the OAS Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Peru’s Ambassador Alberto Borea, repeated the call for the hemisphere’s 800 million citizens to boldly denounce corruption and find ways to unite against this scourge. Borea urged the experts to be resolute in their efforts to prevent corruption from continuing with impunity. “Corruption with power is pernicious and produces inequality,” he argued.

Walter Hoflisch Cueto, Head of Peru’s Financial and Strategic Unit, is chairing the meeting, for which Gladys Young, from the Attorney General’s Department of Jamaica, was elected as Vice Chair. Citing his own country’s experience, Hoflisch Cueto noted that after ten years of corruption, corrupt individuals are now even mounting their own defense using the proceeds of their ill-gotten gain.

Representatives of the OAS Department of Legal Affairs and Services, including Jorge García-Gonzalez, said the financial sector needs stronger preventive measures and more joint effort to prevent and combat money laundering. He called for more collaboration with such international institutions as the United Nations, the Group of Eight (G-8) and the Commonwealth.

The experts speaking on assets confiscation include, Dimitri Vlassis, a UN crime prevention and criminal justice expert; Luis Vargas Valdivia, former Special Prosecutor of Peru; Stephen Baker, international expert in assets recovery; Bill Gilmore, Dean of the University of Edinburgh’s Law School; and Veronica Wright, Legal Counsel with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Those contributing to the discussion on denying safe haven and extradition of officials include Pierre-Gilles Bélanger, Advisor to the Canadian Ministry of Justice, and Kathleen Hamann, anti-corruption and good governance expert. Civil society was represented by Miguel Ángel Peñailillo, of Transparency International.

Before concluding their meeting, the experts will present specific recommendations, in keeping with the Action Plan that the states parties to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption had approved in July 2004, in Managua, Nicaragua.

Reference: E-056/05