Migration and Home Affairs

Commission adopts the report “Asset recovery and confiscation: Ensuring that crime does not pay”

Tuesday, 2 June, 2020

The Commission adopted today the report “Asset recovery and confiscation: ensuring that crime does not pay” (PDF). Profits of organised crime groups are estimated at EUR 110 billion per year in the EU. However, as reported by Europol, only about 1% of these profits are confiscated. Organised crime groups therefore have the means to invest in the expansion of their criminal activities, and to infiltrate the legal economy. 

  • The report analyses the implementation of the Directive on freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime, and assesses the feasibility and benefits of introducing further common rules at EU level.
  •  It reflects on the need for stronger provisions to enhance the identification, tracing, freezing, management and confiscation of illicit assets.
  • It provides an overview of the work of the Asset Recovery Offices (AROs) as well as the challenges they face when carrying out their day-to-day tasks. The ability to freeze and confiscate assets depends on the capacity to effectively trace and identify them. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the Asset Recovery Offices are equipped to carry out their tasks effectively.
  • It provides an overview of the international instruments relevant to the field of asset recovery. Criminals transfer and spread their assets across multiple jurisdictions and make it increasingly difficult for the national authorities to trace, freeze and confiscate them. International cooperation is therefore crucial for the effective recovery of criminal assets.

Background

The EU has deployed considerable efforts to harmonise the legislation on confiscation and asset recovery. Since 2007, Asset Recovery Offices were established in all Member States, and the 2014 Directive on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime has harmonised rules on the freezing, management and confiscation of such assets across the EU.

The recently adopted Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing orders and confiscation orders will improve cross-border cooperation. However, there is still much room for improvement: a confiscation rate of estimated 1% is too low and allows organised crime groups to invest in the expansion of their criminal activities and to infiltrate the legal economy.

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