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KLEPTOTRACE to help the EU tackle transnational high-level corruption

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Published on Tuesday, 23 May 2023

The University of Luxembourg joins a consortium covering eight EU member states and more than 30 countries including associate partners, through the KLEPTOTRACE project. This two-year project, which launched in May 2023, is funded through the Internal Security Fund (ISF) of the European Union.

Matthew Happold, FDEF Department of Law Professor of Public International Law, is heading up the Luxembourg team of collaborators on the project. KLEPTOTRACE will boost the investigation, tracing and recovery of the assets related to transnational high-level corruption and to sanctioned regimes and entities through a combination of research, training and data-driven tools. 

The project is built around five concrete actions:

  1. Analysing the risk factors of transnational high-level corruption and of the schemes used to circumvent EU sanctions.
  2. Providing training for EU public authorities, private sector (e.g. banks) and civil society to strengthen anticorruption investigation/intelligence capabilities.
  3. Developing a data-driven toolbox for tracing and connecting assets related to high-level corruption and sanctioned entities.
  4. Assessing the current EU sanction regimes and advancing legal and policy recommendations to render them more effective against transnational corruption.
  5. Boosting public awareness with a dissemination campaign about the risks of ‘kleptocracy’ and of its links with organised crime and illicit financial flows.

Professor Happold and the Luxembourg team are leading on the fourth action. They will examine why current EU sanctions regimes have proved ineffective in assisting action against corruption; and make proposals to ensure that new regimes are better designed to catch kleptocrats and enablers and allow the use of frozen of assets to benefit the victims of corruption. 

As the home to one of Europe's major international financial centres, Luxembourg has a particular interest in not permitting its facilities to be abused. The project will provide a contribution to this important objective: assisting the EU and its Member States to take further action against transnational high-level corruption.


“Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Internal Security Fund. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”