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  • Lo Furneaux

January Events Recap

Updated: Feb 24

17th - 19th January - AIRE Kosovo Training

Our Chief Operations Officer (Public Sector) Thomas J. Abernathy and Jill Thomas, one of our Asset Recovery Consultants travelled to conduct several training sessions with members of the AIRE Centre and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI), with the support of the UK Government in Pristina, Kosovo.

The training sessions were designed to equip those in attendance with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage seized assets during a criminal investigation. TJ and Jill covered the technical aspects of asset management, including tips on preserving the value of luxury assets like businesses, property, cars or jewellery before highlighting the need for international collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Asset Reality's TJ Abernathy and Jill Thomas pictured in Pristina, Kosovo

When asked about their visit to Kosovo, TJ and Jill both emphasised the importance of the training:

“Having an effective system of criminal asset management which preserves the value of the houses, companies, cars, jewellery and other luxury items which the Kosovar authorities seize from suspected criminals is a vital part of the asset recovery chain. This work is highly technical in nature and regularly requires a transnational approach and public private partnerships.”

“Kosovo has placed enormous importance on the management of assets, ensuring that value is preserved for the benefit of the State, any victims requiring compensation and the owners of assets when they are return is cases are not proven. This workshop will contribute to the successful pursuit, management and confiscation of the illegal assets that are controlled by organized crime and by corrupt public officials”

The National Coordinator of the AIRE Center, Ganimete Ismajli, added:

"When we started the project in 2018, our main goal was to respond directly to the needs of the institutions and use the available capacities in the most useful way for you. I very much hope that the training we have organised in collaboration with Asset Reality will do just that.”

The National Coordinator for Combating Economic Crimes, Shqipdon Fazliu, echoed this sentiment:

"The knowledge and expertise provided by international experts and advisors [like Asset Reality] will greatly assist us in our efforts to manage criminal assets and fight against organized crime and corruption. The confiscation of illegal assets is a message that wealth is returned to where it belongs. A popular saying goes: 'Foreign things never become your own.'"

Acting Director of AAPSK, Enver Krasniqi, also emphasised the importance of effective asset recovery in the fight against crime:

"Asset recovery is a critical aspect of the fight against organised crime and corruption. This training [by Asset Reality] provided us valuable insights and feedback that will be invaluable in our efforts to effectively manage criminal assets."

The Director of the Academy of Law, Enver Fejzullahu, said that:

"RAI and the AIRE Center have once again proven their commitment to fighting corruption and organized crime in the Western Balkans [with this training by Asset Reality] and we look forward to future cooperation. Strong professionals are the ones who ensure the integrity necessary to establish the rule of law.”

Asset Reality's Jill Thomas pictured in Pristina, Kosovo with (L-R) Blerim Sallahu, Enver Fejzullahu, Enver Krasniqi and Shqipdon Fazliu

19th - 20th January - EUACI Ukraine Training

After being appointed by the European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine (EUACI), we conducted several virtual training sessions with members of the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine (SFMS), the Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA), the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), the Bureau of Economic Security, and the EU’s Freeze and Seize Task Force among other beneficiaries of the EUACI.

These training sessions were customised to address the specific needs of the Ukrainian authorities during this incredibly complex and challenging time. Using case studies from Belgium and the United States, our Chief Recovery Officer Joanna Summers and Chief Learning Officer John Valkovci covered the basics of digital asset fraud, management and recovery before highlighting the different custody options available for seized digital assets that have been seized during a criminal investigation.

Even though it was the middle of the night, Joanna and John delivered important and timely information whilst adapting to slides in an unfamiliar language to the 80 officials in attendance, despite being interrupted by an air raid during the proceedings!

When asked about the training sessions, our Chief Recovery Officer Joanna Summers said:

“It was a pleasure to work with law enforcement agencies in Ukraine to provide cryptocurrency training using international case studies. Asset Reality looks forward to continuing our partnership with the European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative.”

26th January - A Modern Heist: Demystifying NFT Theft & Fraud

Towards the end of January, the Asset Reality team gathered at the headquarters of our partner Grant Thornton in central London for an engaging look into the world of NFT fraud.

The sold-out event was hosted by the Fraud Advisory Panel and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and included several different panels, presentations and live demonstrations.

First, the Head of Global Asset Management at our partner Chainalysis, Dani Haston, explained the basic mechanics of NFTS and what makes them different from fungible tokens like cryptocurrency coins. She introduced NFT artist Nanda Kiara, who showed us how she uses a combination of traditional and digital techniques to create NFT art.

Cyber Intelligence Director at the Mishcon de Reya Group, Mark Tibbs, and Director of Grant Thornton UK, Carmel King, then took the stage to highlight how quick and easy NFT fraud can be, managing to “steal” Nanda’s NFT in under 90 seconds!

NFT Artist Nanda Kiara kindly allowed us to “steal” this piece during the conference!

Next, the Public sector outreach manager at our partner Chainalysis, Scott Johnston, used Chainalysis’ Reactor and Storyline investigation tools to demonstrate how investigators would trace the stolen NFT across the blockchain.

Following this, Asset Reality’s co-founder & CEO Aidan Larkin used our industry-leading Asset Recovery Management System (ARMS) to showcase how our SaaS-based platform can be used to move the stolen NFT into the custody of law enforcement. Or, we would have if we didn’t run out of Eth for the gas fees!

The event concluded with a panel led by Darragh Connell, a Barrister at Maitland Chambers. Despite being interrupted by a landing Chinook helicopter, he went through the legal side of NFT fraud with Matt Green, an experienced cryptocurrency lawyer from Shoosmiths before discussing how to achieve success when dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges during criminal investigations with the head of UK Government Affairs and Policy at major exchange Binance, Charlotte Meyer.

The event was chaired by Keith Oliver, the Head of International at the law firm Peters & Peters, who challenged the speakers with several difficult and compelling questions.

Asset Reality's Aidan Larkin pictured at the Grant Thornton Building, London

This event was special for us as it allowed a number of Asset Reality employees to finally meet in person for the first time since our creation back in 2020.

Our co-founder & CEO Aidan Larkin was thrilled to be back in London with so many new and familiar faces:

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak at this event and reconnect with so many of my wonderful extended crypto asset recovery family. Part of what makes working in this sector is the incredible practitioners working in this space collectively trying to improve outcomes for victims.”

If you would like to know more about our work in crypto-related frauds and asset recovery, contact

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