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Bill Spotlights Efforts to Return Stolen Assets to Victims of Corruption

Measure Calls for a Public Directory of Funds Recovered from Corrupt Foreign Officials.

  • Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ)
  • John Curtis (R-UT)

All senators 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. Thanks to Senator Rubio and Blumenthal and Reps. Malinowski and Curtis for their leadership, and urging of Congress to pass the bill quickly.

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