Making sure crime does not pay: Commission reports on implementation of EU rules on seizing criminals’ assets

The Commission is today reporting on the implementation of EU rules on seizing tools used to commit crimes and revenues from criminal activities. Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “We need to hit criminals where it hurts the most. Seizing illicit assets is one of the most powerful means to tackle serious and organised crime. Criminals and their assets move easily across borders, so we must strengthen action at EU level, together with Member States and EU Agencies.” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “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.” The report shows that the EU has deployed considerable efforts to harmonise rules on confiscation and asset recovery. 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. Only 1% of criminal proceeds are confiscated in the EU according to Europol estimates, allowing organised crime groups to invest in the expansion of their criminal activities and infiltrate the legal economy. 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. The report and its annex are available online. More information on confiscation and asset recovery is available online