Legal reform to date has failed to take account of some specific characteristics of high-level corruption, whether in the context of ordinary confiscation or in the context of more novels forms of confiscation, such as extended and civil confiscation regimes. These main characteristics are the following:
1) While the goal of high impact high-level corruption is often monetary gain, it is also frequently aiming at maintaining political office and privileged position which don’t easily relate to specific proceeds of a crime.
2) In countries ridden with systemic corruption, sustaining corrupt deals and relationships are by no means necessarily leading to personal gain for public officials rather represent the necessary minimum for retaining office and trust of colleagues. In such settings formal-legal channels of bureaucratic action are often used for perpetrating corruption while many participants to the deal simply and genuinely follow the orders of superiors. In sum, the State itself is used for corrupt purposes.
3) Corruption is often strictly speaking legal either because the corrupt group can craft laws to its own benefit or because corruption is conducted in public offices with ample discretion allowing for preferential treatment of cronies without breaking any law.
Understanding these peculiarities of high-level systemic corruption, ANTICORRP research provides policy pointers along three main dimensions, each of which plays a fundamental role in supporting asset confiscation as an anticorruption tool. Recognising the importance of supporting institutions calls for asset confiscation reform being combined with promoting reform in other areas simultaneously, as well as furthering political and popular initiatives that create the conditions for effective law enforcement.