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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is gearing up for closer cooperation with overseas prosecutors as the fight against financial crime gains momentum during the recession.
Speaking at The Lawyer’s conference on Fraud Prosecution and Asset Recovery last week, SEC assistant director of international enforcement in the office of international affairs Alberto Arevalo said that recent internal reorganisation would mean “faster and smarter” prosecutions and a renewed emphasis on working with criminal prosecutors abroad.
He said: “In the fiscal year 2008 the SEC sent out over 500 requests to our foreign counterparts for assistance in our prosecutions. This fiscal year 2009 the SEC sent out more than 700 requests.”
He added that in 2008 the SEC froze $11m (£6.73m) in assets abroad and this year it rose to $200m.
Much of the increase was attributable to the Stanford case, but by no means all of it.
One UK fraud partner at the conference commented: “The SEC are in earnest and they have the resources and the attitude - and it looks like they’re not going to be afraid to use it.”