Since financial gain is one of the main objectives of cross-border crime, confiscating illicit proceeds has become a key goal of contemporary criminal justice policies. For this purpose, the European Union (EU) has adopted several instruments to facilitate the cooperation between national authorities, as well as to oblige Member States to introduce effective forms of confiscation.
Several problems and challenges persist. Police and judicial cooperation in targeting, seizing and confiscating criminal assets is not always efficient; furthermore, in some countries confiscation measures are scarcely applied. On the other hand, new forms of measures against ‘dirty money’ (e.g., non-conviction-based confiscation, third party confiscation, extended confiscation) raise serious concerns as regards the fundamental rights of interested persons, who risk being deprived of their property without a fair trial.
In the next two years, a research team coordinated by the University of Ferrara (Italy), and composed of researchers coming from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, and the Netherlands, will investigate the implementation of the existing EU instruments in several Member States. At the end of the project, the researchers will elaborate a set of guidelines to improve such an implementation, as well as the international cooperation in confiscation proceedings.
This international conference will precede the first meeting of this project financed by the Justice Programme of the European Union. It will bring together academics, practitioners, and policy makers in order to discuss the main challenges to asset recovery, and the way forward that the EU and its Member States ought to take.