European Council scales up investigations to fight serious crime

On June 17th, the European Council committed to scale-up financial investigations to fight serious and organised crime and called upon the Commission to consider measures related to strengthening the legal framework, improve management of assets recovery and interconnect national centralised bank account registries, which would accelerate the access to financial information and facilitate cross border cooperation. The Council also called on the Member States to enhance cooperation and ensure that financial investigations form part of all kinds of criminal investigations regarding organized crime as well as to use the potential of the newly created European Financial and Economic Crime Centre by Europol. Estimations consider that the proceeds of organised crimes in the EU constitute 110 billion euros per year and that confiscation rates remain very low. While the EU has significantly strengthened its legal framework for countering money-laundering as well as for access of law enforcement authorities to financial information, assets recovery and financial investigations still need serious enhancement, especially as noted by LSI, lacking confiscation of assets of perpetrators often prevents the payment of compensation for victims of trafficking. Moreover, to secure proceeds and evidence to substantiate the compensation claim early financial investigation is required.