Making it easier to confiscate criminal assets EU-wide

Date

25 Feb 2014

Sections

Euro & Finance
Justice & Home Affairs

Press release

Directive on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union
 
Rules to make it easier for national authorities to trace, freeze, manage and confiscate criminal assets across the EU were adopted by the plenary on Tuesday after a Parliament-Council deal was reached on 27 November.
 
On Tuesday 25 February, the Plenary adopted Monica Macovei's new Report following the trilogue on the proposal for a Directive on freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union (631 votes in favour, 19 against, 25 abstentions).
 
Today, less than 1% of the proceeds of crimes such as drug trafficking, counterfeiting, human trafficking and small arms smuggling are frozen and confiscated. Most of this 'dirty money' is laundered and channeled into the licit economy. "Our priority must be to follow the money across borders and confiscate the profits of criminals. Otherwise eveyrthing we are doing is useless", said Parliament’s Rapporteur Monica Luisa Macovei.  
 
Under the newly-adopted Directive, extended confiscation will apply to more crimes than before: (i) active and passive corruption in the private and public sectors as well as active and passive corruption involving EU and Member States' officials, (ii) participation in a criminal organisation, (iii) child pornography, and (iv) cybercriminality. The list of offences enabling extended confiscation can be widened by the European Commission to other crimes.
Only if we take money and assets of criminals can we dare to believe that we are reducing serious criminality. Sending some people to jail but leaving the money in circulation cannot be tolerated.
Monica Macovei MEP
 
In addition, third party confiscation will be possible in cases of goods transferred for free or below the market price and when the third party knew or should have known that the purpose of the transfer or acquisition was to avoid confiscation. Confiscation measures were extended to cases of flight or illness of the suspected or accused person. The rights of victims of crime to seek compensation for their claims are now ensured by this Directive.
 
Regarding further actions in the area of confiscation, a joint declaration by the Council and the European Parliament asks the European Commission to carry out a study on the benefits of confiscation without a criminal conviction, which shall include cases of 'death' and other situations not covered by the new Directive.
 
Member States will have 30 months to transpose the Directive into their national laws.
Directive on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union
  
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
 
MEP Contacts
Monica Luisa MACOVEI
BRU - Tel: +32 (0)2 2845225 Fax: +32 (0)2 2849225
STR - Tel: +33 (0)3 88 175225 Fax: +33 (0)3 88 179225
 
Press Contacts
Eugen Sandu
Phone: +32 472 54 75 84

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