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Brussels, 25 February 2014
Cecilia Malmström welcomes European Parliament's vote on new EU rules to crack down on crime profits
Today the European Parliament adopted a Commission's proposal for a Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the EU:
"I welcome today's vote by the European Parliament on this important Directive which will make it easier for the police to hit organised crime where it really hurts – by going after their profits.
The Commission made ambitious proposals and the agreed EU-wide rules fill important gaps which are exploited by persons belonging to organised criminal groups.
They enhance the ability of Member States to confiscate assets that have been transferred to third parties and assets which are not directly linked to a specific crime, but which clearly result from other criminal activities by the convicted person.
The Directive also makes it easier to confiscate criminal assets even when a criminal conviction is not possible because the suspect is ill or is a fugitive and ensures that competent authorities can temporarily freeze assets that risk disappearing if no action is taken. Moreover, it recommends that confiscated assets should be reused for public and social purposes. These are significant improvements.
I trust that these new rules will help us taking on criminal threats together. Clearly law enforcement and judicial authorities will have greater means to recover a more significant proportion of the illegal profits that end up in the criminals' pockets or a reinvested into legal assets or activities.
This is good news for citizens and the functioning of our economy. Facilitating asset confiscation will hamper criminal activities and deter criminality by showing that crime does not pay. It will also protect our economy against criminal infiltration and corruption. Recovering more assets in favour of the State will have a significant impact on victims of crime, taxpayers and society as a whole", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.