Making sure crime does not pay

Commission launches public consultation to review EU rules on seizing criminals' profits

Photo: EPA EU commissioner for Home Affairs Sweden`s Ylva Johansson

The European Commission is launching today a public consultation on recovering and confiscating criminal assets, with the objective of reinforcing the tools that enable national authorities to trace, freeze and confiscate those assets.

Organised crime generates large profits, and with only about 1% of criminal proceeds confiscated in the EU today, criminals use illicit earnings to increase their reach and infiltrate the legal economy and public institutions, posing a threat to the rule of law.

The results of the consultation will feed into the upcoming evaluation and revision of EU rules on the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime and on asset recovery offices. These initiatives form part of the EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime and aim at depriving criminals of their illicit earnings, reducing the incentives that feed serious and organised crime and limiting the ability of criminals to reinvest such profits towards further crime.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, has also published a blog article today encouraging all interested parties to contribute the consultation.

National, regional and local authorities, civil society organisations, businesses and private individuals are invited to contribute until 27 September 2021.

“We need the right tools at our disposal to quickly and effectively deprive criminals of their financial gains and break their business model. We will continue to work closely with the European Parliament and the Council towards building a more effective EU asset recovery system,” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said reporting on 2 June on the implementation of EU rules on seizing tools used to commit crimes and revenues from criminal activities.

Thanks to the 2014 Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime, there are now clear rules in place across the EU for seizing criminals’ assets. In addition, Asset Recovery Offices have been established in all Member States, helping to quickly trace illicit assets. The recently-adopted Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing orders and confiscation orders will also improve cross-border cooperation. However, much more remains to be done.

The Commission will now assess the potential for further developing the EU’s asset recovery system, based on the results of today’s report, and in close cooperation with the European Parliament and the Council.

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