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Global Anti-Corruption


Since 1991, with funding from the Department of State, OPDAT has provided expert assistance and case-based mentoring to foreign counterparts to develop justice systems that can combat corruption consistent with international and regional conventions, protocols, and standards.  To do so, OPDAT draws upon criminal justice experts with related expertise, including its Resident Legal Advisors (RLA) posted in approximately 50 countries and the Senior Counsel on Global Anti-Corruption who provides specialized technical advice, training, and consultation to foreign prosecutors, judges, and investigators around the world.  The U.S. Transnational and High-Tech Crime Global Law Enforcement Network, a/k/a the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program, supports these efforts by providing capacity building focused on digital evidence and cryptocurrency.

Multilateral Efforts

The Senior Counsel leads three courses for judges, prosecutors, and investigators at the Department of State’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) facilities around the world:  An anti-corruption and asset recovery course for senior criminal justice practitioners that focuses on investigating and prosecuting corruption and related money laundering cases; and two courses for judges and prosecutors, one that focuses on the investigation and prosecution of complex corruption cases, and another on election crimes. These international anti-corruption courses facilitate partnerships, cooperation, and information sharing among the participants coming from around the region of the ILEA.

OPDAT and the Department of State’s INL Bureau’s Global Anti-Corruption Rapid Response Fund (RRF) provides technical assistance and / or case-based mentoring at short notice to foreign partners seeking to expand their capacity to investigate and prosecute corruption, kleptocracy, and related offenses, and to recover assets.

Combatting Corruption in Europe

Effectively combatting corruption is a major criterion for the European Union accession process for countries in Central and Eastern Europe and a central policy focus for the United States.  OPDAT develops the anti-corruption investigative and prosecutorial capacity of partners throughout the region and provides legislative drafting assistance to strengthen relevant legal frameworks.

OPDAT works with countries on developing, drafting, and implementing sanctions legislation modeled after the Global Magnitsky Act that will impose restrictions on foreign officials, who are complicit in corruption and human rights abuses. Kosovo’s parliament passed OPDAT-championed legislation, which closely tracks the U.S. Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

Throughout the Baltics, Balkans, and the Mediterranean, OPDAT provides direct case-based mentoring to local prosecutors on high-profile complex corruption, money laundering, and illicit asset recovery cases, while providing advisory assistance on justice-sector legislation and policy.

In Albania, OPDAT supports the Special Structure Against Corruption (SPAK), which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting high-level corruption, including securing the conviction of the former prosecutor general for concealment of funds as a public official.  OPDAT—alongside other international partners—also supports a rigorous system of vetting for all judges and prosecutors in the country.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Fadil Novalic and two co-defendants were found guilty in a landmark verdict of illegally procuring 100 overpriced and inadequate ventilators from China at a cost of approximately $6 million. At the outset of the COVID pandemic, OPDAT—recognizing the danger posed by corrupt politicians during the pandemic—formed an Anti-Corruption Working Group of BiH prosecutors and Public Procurement Agency representatives, which examined reports of fraud and identified cases for prosecution, including this one.

In the Czech Republic—as a result of a series of OPDAT-led, RRF-funded programs and resulting guidelines on the country’s new plea-bargaining mechanism—the number of cases being settled went from a few dozen into the thousands.

In Malta, OPDAT-supported investigators obtained key evidence implicating a former member of parliament in a widespread fraud and corruption scheme, which cost taxpayers over two million Euros.

In North Macedonia, OPDAT supports prosecutors at the Organized Crime and Corruption Prosecution Office, which investigates and prosecutes public corruption including bribery, procurement fraud, abuse of official position, and trading in influence. 

In Romania, within weeks of a procurement-fraud study visit to the United States supported by OPDAT’s Central Europe Anti-Corruption program, participants raided nine Romanian companies suspected of having engaged in a transportation-related big rigging scheme.

In Serbia, OPDAT helped to establish specialized police and prosecutor anti-corruption units is also engaged in extensive case-based mentoring including by embedding an RLA in the Serbian Republic Public Prosecutors Office.  In Serbia, OPDAT assistance helped create a national standard for indictments and improved judicial transparency, efficiency, and the overall administration of justice.

In Ukraine, OPDAT is heavily engaged with the specialized anti-corruption agencies and the Prosecutor General’s Office to build their advanced capacity in high-level investigation and prosecutions involving corruption and related offenses.

Combatting Corruption in Latin America

Strengthening the capacity of justice systems throughout Latin America to combat corruption is a top priority for OPDAT. 

OPDAT’s programs provide technical assistance, mentoring and training to judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers in combatting transnational crime and its connection to corruption.  Specifically, in the Northern Triangle countries, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, OPDAT has dedicated programs and RLAs building the capacity of its counterparts in combatting corruption and money laundering and building more transparent justice systems.  In Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Paraguay OPDAT’s anti-money laundering work has also allowed it to undertake anti-corruption efforts and programs with its counterparts.    OPDAT supported the establishment of the DOJ Northern Triangle Anti-Corruption Task Force and the Specialized Technical Advisory Group (GATE) in Honduras to provide technical assistance and case-based mentoring on corruption cases, and RLAs continue to coordinate and facilitate exchanges and cooperation on investigations with a U.S. nexus.

In Colombia, OPDAT-supported prosecutors charged six defendants on corruption and money laundering charges in a six million dollar scheme to steal funds from a sports venue construction project.

In El Salvador, OPDAT-supported prosecutors prosecuted the former Minister of Public Works and codefendants for defrauding the $45 million SITRAMSS public-works project.

In Honduras, OPDAT-supported counterparts secured the conviction of the former Executive Director and former Administrative Manager of INVEST-H, a government procurement agency, for a $47 million dollar scheme involving the fraudulent purchase of mobile hospitals to treat COVID patients; and two former Secretaries of Health and Labor were convicted for defrauding millions of dollars form the Honduran Social Security in exchange of facilitating the execution of contracts and payments.

In Paraguay, the Treasury Department’s OFAC—with assistance from OPDAT and other U.S. government agencies—was able to impose financial sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act on former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and his business interests and current Vice President Hugo Velazquez for corruption and bribery and links to Lebanese Hizballah.

Combatting Corruption in Asia

OPDAT’s Asia programs are diverse and focus on combatting various crimes, including corruption and money laundering, as well as promoting criminal procedure amendments and institutional reforms of the prosecution services and law enforcement entities. 

In Bangladesh, OPDAT conducts skills and technical trainings for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials who handle public corruption cases.  For example, OPDAT works to improve the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Commission to prosecute corruption.  Further, OPDAT works with law enforcement, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Ministry of Law to strengthen Bangladesh’s ability to investigate and prosecute money laundering.

In Indonesia, OPDAT helps to combat corruption by working closely with relevant Indonesian agencies, including the Corruption Eradication Commission, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.  Through capacity building programs and case-based mentoring, OPDAT highlights how money laundering and asset forfeiture can be used as tools to fight corruption.  In addition, OPDAT has assisted Indonesia with drafting effective anti-money laundering and anti-corruption legislation, including laws allowing for the prosecution of corporations involved in corrupt activities.

In the Maldives, OPDAT provides capacity building, case-based mentoring, and technical assistance to the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Maldives Police Service, and the Prosecutor General’s Office to strengthen their capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute public corruption and money laundering.  OPDAT also closely engages with the Government of Maldives to develop and implement processes to identify, preserve, and recover criminal assets. 

In Nepal, OPDAT works with relevant Nepalese investigators, prosecutors, and criminal justice actors to improve investigations and prosecutions of complex crimes, including corruption and money laundering.  OPDAT’s programs on anti-money laundering, financial investigations, asset forfeiture, and digital investigations provide needed skills to address these crimes.

In Sri Lanka, OPDAT broadly targets improving the ability of Sri Lankan authorities to successfully investigate and prosecute corruption and money laundering cases, including by providing training, case-based mentoring, and resources regarding digital evidence, plea agreements, and trial advocacy skills.

In addition, OPDAT has two regional programs that impact anti-corruption reform.  The South Asia Regional program hosts regional capacity building events addressing transnational crime, including corruption, that affect Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.  The regional anti-corruption activities seek to facilitate regional coordination and inspire legislative and regulatory reforms to strengthen public confidence and transparency in government systems, practices, and policies.  The Countering Wildlife Trafficking program informs and builds the capacities of Southeast Asian countries and Mongolia to combat corruption tied to the trafficking of wildlife.

Combatting Corruption in Africa

In Kenya, OPDAT has been assisting with anti-corruption matters since January 2020 by working with vetted U.S. law enforcement supported anti-corruption units; providing training for investigators, prosecutors and analysts; offering guidance on corruption cases; as well as supporting specialized anti-corruption training for the Kenyan Judiciary Academy. OPDAT has been a long-standing partner to the Kenyan Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in assisting with complex cases, including corruption cases.  Most recently, in July and September of 2023, OPDAT led regional anti-fraud and money laundering workshops for ODPP prosecutors.  In December 2023, OPDAT will escort the newly-appointed Kenyan Director of the Public Prosecutions and a senior anti-corruption Kenyan prosecutor to the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption.

In Zambia, at the request of U.S. Embassy and the Director of Public Prosecutions, OPDAT is scheduled to conduct an RRF-funded anti-corruption evaluation. It will seek to establish which offices in Zambia have primacy for investigating and prosecuting these types of cases and what challenges in Zambia’s ability to prosecute anti-corruption cases need to be prioritized.   

Recent Programmatic Activities

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. Delivers Closing Remarks at the 20th International Anti-Corruption Conference (12/9/22)

Updated December 8, 2023