US Attorney General Eric Holder is pictured in June.
The United States will cooperate with new post-Arab Spring governments seeking to recover frozen assets of fallen autocrats, said US Attorney General Eric Holder, pictured in June. © Chip Somodevilla - AFP/Getty Images/File
US Attorney General Eric Holder is pictured in June.
AFP
Last updated: September 13, 2012

US promises to help retrieve Arab dictators' assets

The United States will cooperate with new post-Arab Spring governments seeking to recover frozen assets of fallen autocrats, US Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

"We’re determined to cooperate and bring innovative tools and strategies to bear in order to stop corrupt regimes from exploiting public resources for personal gain," Holder told the Forum on Asset Recovery in Doha.

"I want to make clear that the United States intends to serve not as a patron, but as a partner; not as a monitor, but as a collaborator," he said on the last day of the forum.

Holder announced that the United States "will appoint two additional Justice Department attorneys to work exclusively with (countries in transition) and their regional partners on asset recovery and mutual legal assistance issues."

"One of these attorneys -- who will specialize exclusively in asset recovery work -- will be based" in the Middle East and North Africa region, the the other in Washington, he said.

Participants at the three-day forum have "affirmed their commitment to a mechanism to recover the assets" of Arab dictators ousted during a wave of uprisings that shook the region since December 2010.

Qatar's public prosecutor Ali al-Miri, said that the UN's Doha-based "International Centre for Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption will help Arab Spring states retrieve stolen funds."

Miri said there were no exact estimates on the amounts of these assets, but they are "in billions."

The forum brought together G8 countries, as well as several Arab states and Turkey, with the aim of starting a process of collaboration on asset recovery for Arab countries that ousted their dictators.

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