The European Commission intends to step up action against organized crime by enabling the immediate seizure of illicit profits, which is expected to affect, among others, Russian and Belarusian oligarchs linked to the Ukraine war, said Margarita at the same time that the existing framework is not efficient enough. He described organized crime as “one of the biggest threats to EU security”.
“The European Commission will soon present a proposal to modernize the existing EU legal framework for the seizure and recovery of assets, in order to strengthen the powers of national authorities to detect, seize, seize and manage criminal proceeds.” says Schinas in an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag and typically points out that crime revenues in the EU reach 139 billion, of which only 1% is confiscated.
The new rules proposed by the Commission “will extend the scope of the offenses recorded, introduce more effective rules so that funds can be seized without prior conviction and ensure the effective management of confiscated assets”, while recovery offices Asset Recovery Offices that already exist in the 27 Member States will have more powers “to detect and identify illegal assets,” explains the Vice-President of the Commission. Offices should be able to work more closely with other European bodies and institutions, as well as with third countries and international organizations, to detect illicit profits. “Because organized crime operates across borders, it is particularly important to improve the capacity for cross-border recovery of assets,” Schinas said, noting that the Commission’s new legislation could also help impose sanctions on oligarchs and politicians: “We see how important freezing and confiscation are, e.g. in the sanctions against Russians and Belarusians “, Margaritis Schoinas continues. “While this is not about criminal sanctions, EU sanctions and especially targeted economic sanctions, such as those related to the war, are also based on asset seizures, with the recognition and tracing of assets being crucial here.” explains.
Organized crime is “one of the biggest threats to the security of the EU”, recognizes Mr. Schoinas and points out as one of the priorities of his position to do everything in order “the violation is not worth it”. A year ago, the Commission presented the EU Strategy for the Fight against Organized Crime 2021-2025, while, as it says, common regulations for the detection and seizure of criminal profits have existed for years. However, most law enforcement agencies in the Member States do not systematically launch financial investigations into all crimes, but even if they do, the authorities often do not have the necessary know-how. “If assets, such as houses, are not properly managed, Member States can freeze them at a loss, with the cost of maintaining the assets being higher than the final value of the property,” Schinas concluded. .