Basel Institute on Governance: Uncovering Financial Crime

The Asset Recovery Intelligence System (ARIS) is a web-based secure service that helps financial investigators, analysts and FIUs track stolen assets by providing asset-related profiles of named legal entities. ARIS was created with the cooperation of Dow Jones, World-Check and EDGAR.

In today’s global economy, the stealing of national assets by current and former dictators is a worldwide problem, especially in developing countries where it robs the national economies of much needed financial resources.

The International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) within the Basel Institute on Governance helps the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of developed and developing countries in the areas of financial investigations, fight against corruption and money laundering, asset tracing and recovery, mutual legal assistance.

The Goal

The International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) wanted to create a sector-specific solution – a prototype asset tracking system that could expedite the recovery of internationally distributed stolen national assets.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge for the process of tracking stolen assets is the mobility of funds and the existing cracks between jurisdictions. This enables perpetrators to distribute assets and funds between different jurisdictions without leaving obvious ties to themselves (usually, the transactions are made by family members or business associates).

ICAR needed to be able to connect and analyze information that would otherwise remain unrelated such as, for example, when one country had information about corrupt practices and another country – about financial transactions.

The Solution: The Asset Recovery Intelligence System Prototype

The Asset Recovery Intelligence System (ARIS) is a web-based secure service that helps financial investigators, analysts and FIUs track stolen assets by providing asset-related profiles of named legal entities.

Some of the important products and technologies that ARIS uses to accomplish the task are:

  • Ontotext’s leading RDF database GraphDB for efficient storage of facts, with powerful inference and query answering capabilities;
  • Semantic Annotation and multi-paradigm search over documents, data and knowledge;
  • Named Entity Recognition for recognizing people, companies, roles, etc. in free text.
  • Relation Extraction for recognizing and inferring relationships between entities.

ARIS uses various data sources such as domain-specific documents (Suspicious Activity Reports from banks and other financial institutions to the FIUs, etc.), newsfeeds from worldwide press agencies, financial and risk-related information from external sources (Dow Jones Watchlist data feed, Dow Jones Factiva news feed, World-Check Politically Exposed Persons data feed, etc.) and many more.

By exploiting all available data sources and various public documents, ARIS discovers hidden relationships between people, companies, accounts, transfers, etc. Then, the system summarizes the collected and inferred facts about an entity in an Entity Profile, whereas the complete set of facts are presented in an Entity Factsheet as shown below.

ARIS-profile-report-7

Business Benefits

  • Efficient notifications about names of suspicious individuals and proceeds of corruption that may be linked to them;
  • Alerts about corruption cases reported in regional news outlets and other online databases;
  • On-demand profiles of individuals, including information such as the person’s network, roles, activities, etc.

Why Choose Ontotext?

Thanks to ARIS’s key financial intelligence capabilities FIUs can now be significantly quicker and more efficient in their work. As a result, ICAR can further strengthen and support the capacities of developing and transition countries to recover stolen public assets and deter corruption.

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