European Union (EU) negotiators have agreed on rules for new legislation that will allow governments to freeze and confiscate so-called “unexplained wealth” that’s believed to be connected to criminal activities.
Council Members have agreed on mandatory rules for the tracing, identification, freezing, confiscation and management of assets deemed as criminal property in an enhanced effort to fight organized crime, the EU says in a new press release.
The Council says that in the newly agreed upon text, EU member states must take sprawling measures to enable the freezing of property “in order to ensure an eventual confiscation” and to allow for a final conviction in the event of a criminal offence.
Not only will member states confiscate “criminal money,” they will also adopt rules that allow them to manage confiscated assets and ensure governments are confiscating property equal to the value “corresponding to the criminal yield.”
Says the press release,
“In a first for many member states, a new rule on the confiscation of unexplained wealth will, under certain conditions, allow the confiscation of property identified in the context of an investigation in relation to criminal offences, provided that a national court is satisfied that the identified property is derived from criminal activities committed within the framework of a criminal organisation and that those activities give rise to substantial economic benefit.
The agreement pays special attention to procedural safeguards.”
If wealth or property is transferred to a third party, the new measures allow governments to confiscate it if they decide that the receiver knew “or should have known” that the reason for the transfer was to avoid confiscation.
Says Félix Bolaños, Spanish minister for justice,
“The gains from criminal activities are staggering. Only if governments have the means to claw back these profits do they stand a chance of fighting organized crime.”
The basics of the new measure were agreed upon in mid 2023, and mentioned crypto assets by name.
The new agreement will now have to be endorsed by member states’ representatives within the Council.
If approved, the text will then go through the formal adoption process in both the Council and the European Parliament.Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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