EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

European Parliament. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) joint meeting. Vote by a show of hands. (EP Audiovisual Servises, 20/02/2014).

European Parliament. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) joint meeting. Vote by a show of hands. (EP Audiovisual Services, 20/02/2014).

In two parallel actions the European Parliament approved, with stormy majorities, two draft laws; one against money laundering and one more to facilitate the confiscation of fraudulently acquired assets. In the first case, the Economic Affairs and the Justice and Home Affairs committees amended a Commission proposal to list in public registers the ultimate owners of companies and trusts. In the second case, the full Parliament agreed with the Commission and approved a draft directive text to facilitate the freezing and confiscation of convicted crooks’ assets across the EU. The complementarity of the two new laws is obvious. It will be more difficult for crooks and criminals to hide illegally acquired assets, while it will be easier for the national authorities to confiscate them.

Starting from the ending of anonymity for the owners of companies and trusts, the new directive demands that the member states should create public registers, where “The ultimate owners of companies and trusts would have to be listed”. To this effect last Thursday, the MEPs of the Economic Affairs and the Justice and Home Affairs committees approved the final update of the draft anti-money laundering rules. Casinos are included in the scope of the draft rules, but decisions to exclude other gambling services posing a low risk are left to member states.

45 yes, 1 no

The text that the two Committees approved with 45 votes to 1 and 1 abstention will be put to a vote by the full Parliament in March. The new Parliament to be elected in May will begin negotiations with the European Commission and the Council of Ministers (the member states). This procedure may take a long time to be accomplished, but the Parliament believes that the Italian Presidency in the second half of this year will promote the issue very actively in the Council.

“The outcome of this vote is a big step forward in the fight against tax evasion and a clear call for more transparency. With this vote Parliament has shown, from left to right, that it is in favour of public beneficial ownership registers, and thus sends a strong signal to the Council for forthcoming negotiations on the file. By approving the establishment of beneficial ownership registers, the committees have shown that they are serious in their demand to finally break with the tradition of hidden company ownership”, said Civil Liberties Committee rapporteur Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL).

The problem is that within the EU territory and in the neighboring jurisdictions there are innumerable opportunities to hide financial assets in full anonymity. To mention a few, what about the English Channel Islands, the strong bank secrecy laws in Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Austria, Malta and elsewhere, the London City with its direct connections with offshore paradises all over the world, the Swiss bank accounts and the many more not widely known opportunities to hide assets?

Will all those governments and authorities be ready to close the holes? It’s very doubtful, but the new directive is a step in the right direction. Lawmakers owe that to the hard-working and heavily taxed hundreds of millions of EU citizens. In any case, the discussion and the negotiations between the three EU institutions over the text of this directive will be very difficult and long.

Confiscate the crooks’ money

The second draft law requires member states to enable the confiscation of criminal assets following a final conviction. It will also enable the authorities to confiscate assets even if the suspect or accused person is ill or having disappeared, e.g. through in absentia proceedings. Extended confiscation would be possible where a court, “on the basis of the circumstances of the case (…) is satisfied that the property in question is derived from criminal conduct”.

This draft directive, by introducing new rules which make it easier to confiscate crooks’ assets across the EU, is much more mature from the point of view of procedures than the money laundering law. In this case, there is already agreement between the three EU decision-making bodies, the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. After it was voted yesterday in the full house with 631 in favour, 19 against, 25 abstentions, it is expected to be formally approved by the Council in the coming weeks. Member states will have 30 months to transpose the directive into their national laws. Ireland will take part in these arrangements, while the UK and Denmark will not.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The EU seals CETA but plans to re-baptise TTIP after missing the 2016 deadline

Residents and visitors to this Dutch neighborhood could share a pool of cars and bikes

Chart of the day: These countries have the largest carbon footprints

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

UN chief welcomes formation of unity government in Madagascar

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Smoking VS Vaping: is it a battle?

Universal Health Care: can it exist only in utopic society?

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

Ukraine: €8 million in humanitarian aid to withstand winter

Siege of Syria’s eastern Ghouta ‘barbaric and medieval’, says UN Commission of Inquiry

Chronic illnesses: UN stands up to stop 41 million avoidable deaths per year

Could the EU’s ban on palm oil in biofuels do more harm than good?

4 reasons why women should lead the G7 agenda in 2018

EU-US trade war: Will Trump take advantage of WTO’s decision leading to ominous economic growth?

Understanding the gender gap in the Global South

1.4 million refugees set to need urgent resettlement in 2020: UNHCR

Why climate change matters for future health professionals

Parliament asks for the termination of EU-US bank data deal

Why poorer people suffer more from climate change

Agreement on linking the emissions trading systems of the EU and Switzerland

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

China has made a shocking food production discovery – electro culture

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

EU-US Privacy Shield data exchange deal: US must comply by 1 September, say MEPs

COP21 Breaking News: “There is an ecological debt that the world needs to pay back to Africa”, French President Francois Hollande promises 2 Billion euros by 2020 from Paris

A new dawn for Europe: Joint op-ed by President von der Leyen, President Michel and President Sassoli

Mali: Two peacekeepers dead after dawn attack, several injured – UN Mission

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into Broadcom and sends Statement of Objections seeking to impose interim measures in TV and modem chipsets markets

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

European tourism remains a strong growth factor

State aid: Commission concludes that recapitalisation of German NordLB is market conform

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

The Commission calls for a climate neutral Europe by 2050*

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

‘We need to stand up now’ for the elderly: urges UN rights expert on World Day

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Hope’ on the horizon as UN Peacekeepers push deep into Mali

5 steps that could end the plastic pollution crisis – and save our ocean

Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

More women in Latin America are working, but gender gap persists, new UN figures show

Humans aren’t made for repetition – it’s time AI took over manufacturing

First-ever World Braille Day underscores importance of written language for human rights

Trump after marginalizing G20 attacks Europe and China where it hurts, brandishes currency war

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

Technology can hinder good mental health at work. Here’s how it can help

Women still struggle to find a job, let alone reach the top: new UN report calls for ‘quantum leap’

UN receives ‘Humanium’ wristwatch gift, symbolizing peaceful transformation

Iraq protests: UN calls for national talks to break ‘vicious cycle’ of violence

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Gede Prama says:

    visit your blog, read an interesting article. thank you friends for sharing and greetings compassion 🙂

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s