Financial investigations: Council calls for further improvements in the fight against serious and organised crime

The Council today approved conclusions on enhancing financial investigations to fight serious and organised crime.

In its conclusions, the Council calls on the Commission:

  • to consider strengthening the legal framework on the management of property frozen with a view of possible subsequent confiscation
  • to consider further enhancing the legal framework in order to interconnect national centralised bank account registries, which would accelerate the access to financial information and facilitate cross border cooperation
  • to explore whether certain aspects of the work of financial intelligence units (FIUs) could be further adapted to enable a more efficient exchange of information
  • to re-engage in a discussion with member states regarding the need for a legislative limitation on cash payments at EU level
  • to consider the need to further improve the legal framework for virtual assets

The Council also calls on member states to enhance cooperation and to ensure that financial investigations, as a horizontal priority in the EU policy cycle for organised crime  – EMPACT, form part of all kinds of criminal investigations regarding organised crime. It calls on Europol to fully use the potential of the newly created European Financial and Economic Crime Center.

Estimations consider that the proceeds of organised crimes within the EU have reached 110 billion euros a year and that confiscation rates remain very low. Financial investigations are therefore of utmost importance for the European Union in preventing and combatting organised crime and terrorism. In recent years, the EU has significantly strengthened its legal framework for  countering money-laundering and financing of terrorism, as well as for access of law enforcement authorities to financial information. Nevertheless, further improvements may be considered.