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Crime does not pay: cracking down on criminal profits 12/03/2012 The European Commission has proposed new rules for more effective and widespread confiscation of funds and other property acquired through crime.

Crime does not pay: cracking down on criminal profits

The European Commission has proposed new rules for more effective and widespread confiscation of funds and other property acquired through crime. It is hoped that these will enhance the ability of Member States to confiscate assets that have been transferred to third parties, make it easier to confiscate criminal assets even when the suspect has fled or died and ensure that competent authorities can temporarily freeze assets that risk disappearing if no action is taken.

At present, the amounts recovered from organised crime are modest if compared to the huge revenues generated by illegal activities such as drug trafficking, counterfeiting, human trafficking and small arms smuggling.

It is hoped that facilitating asset confiscation will hamper criminal activities and deter criminality by showing that crime does not pay. Recovering more assets in favour of the State should have a significant impact on victims of crime, taxpayers and society as a whole. Once confiscated, the proceeds of crime could be re-used for social purposes, or to provide funds to be re-invested into law enforcement or crime prevention initiatives

"We need to hit criminals where it hurts, by going after the money, and we have to get their profits back in to the legal economy, especially in these times of crisis,” said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs. “Law enforcement and judicial authorities must have better tools to follow the money trail. They also need greater means with which to recover a more significant proportion of criminal assets

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