EU steps up fight against proceeds of crime

The European Council stated that the member states have determined a common position in the negotiations with the European Parliament (EP) on the new law on the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

Accordingly, EU countries will fight more against organized crime and illegal profits. Common EU-wide rules on the monitoring, identification, freezing, confiscation and management of proceeds of crime and assets will be introduced. The new rules will also apply to violations of sanctions, with the adoption of the EU regulation on the definition of criminal offenses and penalties for violation of restrictive measures.

The income of those who benefit by doing business with people or companies on EU sanctions lists will be seized. Member states will need to allocate adequate resources to their departments dealing with the monitoring, freezing and management of proceeds of crime.

Institutions responsible for the repurchase of criminal assets will be given greater powers. Cross-border cooperation and information sharing of these units will be increased. Unexplained wealth will be confiscated. Within this framework, assets acquired as a result of relations with organized crime activities can be confiscated. This type of confiscation will not require a conviction. Member states will set up asset management offices to manage frozen or confiscated properties.

After this stage, negotiations will be held with EU countries to finalize the EP law.

According to Europol data, criminal organizations in Europe generate more than 139 billion euros each year.

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