Virgin Islands-based asset recovery lawyer Martin Kenney, left, listens to a presentation during the ICC FraudNet International Conference and Meeting last week at Scrub Island Resort. Mr. Kenney’s firm hosted the event. (Photo: MARTIN KENNEY & CO (MKS))

Some of the world’s top asset-recovery lawyers were among more than 100 people from about 30 countries who gathered at Scrub Island Resort last week for a global anti-fraud conference that was celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The ICC FraudNet International Conference and Meeting was hosted by Virgin Islands law firm Martin Kenney & Co and featured a keynote address by Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

Mr. Kenney hailed the event as a success and said the VI — which has been attempting to position itself as a conference destination in recent years — is an excellent host for such gatherings.

“BVI Finance was the headline sponsor, and the government can and should support anti-crime and anti-fraud initiatives,” he told the Beacon. “It is good for the BVI’s reputation in this area.”

Mr. Kenney, who has been involved in ICC FraudNet for two decades, said the three-day conference included wide-ranging discussions on fraud and asset-recovery operations.

Attendees included lawyers and other representatives from organisations such as GreyList Trace, BDO, Mintz and Grant Thornton.

ICC FraudNet — an international network of attorneys specialising in fraud, international asset tracing and recovery — convenes such gatherings every six months, and it has held 39 of them in more than 30 countries over the past two decades.

In recent years, the organisation has been involved in clawing back billions of dollars for fraud victims in areas such as cyptocurrency, insurance, commodities, banking and bankruptcy.

Keynote address

During the keynote address, Ms. Smith said geopolitical instability and new digital asset systems have complicated the fight against financial crime.

But she added that the VI is determined to rise to the challenge.

“There is no doubt that we face challenges from those with criminal intent who seek to misuse our services,” she said. “The decision by ICC FraudNet to come to the Virgin Islands reflects our shared responsibility to ensure that financial crime is investigated and prosecuted and that assets lost or stolen are identified and recovered through the courts.”

Despite a recent report from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force that found the territory ill-prepared to handle such crime, Ms. Smith insisted that the VI has a good record in combating fraud.

She added that she was “immensely proud” that ICC FraudNet had chosen the VI as a venue following its tenth anniversary meeting in the territory a decade ago.

ICC FraudNet has previously held the meetings in locations including Mexico, Miami and Ghana.

Also at the conference, Ms. Smith observed a panel session on the subject of tightening laws to help tackle financial crime.

Founded in 2004

ICC FraudNet was formed in 2004 by a group of asset recovery lawyers in collaboration with ICC Commercial Crime Services, the anti-crime arm of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.


This article was amended to clarify the history of ICC FraudNet’s founding.