Portugal. The Asset Tracing and Recovery Review

Portuguese law provides fraud victims with several criminal law and civil law remedies, both for recovering assets lost through fraudulent actions and for obtaining compensation for damage as a result thereof.

On one hand, every person who suffers losses as a result of fraudulent actions is free to take action under civil law, for example, to assert claims for recovery or damages before the civil courts, regardless of any criminal proceedings in fraud cases.

While there are remedies available to ensure that a claimant’s rights are secured (e.g., provisional restitution of possession and attachment of the debtor’s assets), Portuguese civil law does not provide for specific legislation related to asset tracing and recovery, including the taking of evidence to support the respective claims arising specifically out of fraud or dishonesty. Hence, in civil proceedings, victims must rely on general actions provided forunder Portuguese civil liability law and privately trace any assets or proceeds of fraud.

On the other hand, under Portuguese law, a victim can appear as a party to criminal proceedings, not only to exercise a criminal action, but also for the purposes of seeking compensation for damages, through standing as civil party. In fact, as a general rule, asset recovery claims as a result of criminal offences must be filed within the relevant criminal proceedings.

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