EU: Crime pays well, says Europol report

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A new report by European policing agency Europol estimates that between 2010 and 2014, just "2.2% of the estimated proceeds of crime were provisionally seized or frozen, and 1.1% of the criminal profits were finally confiscated at EU level." Thus: "98.9% of estimated criminal profits are not confiscated and remain at the disposal of criminals."

See: Europol press release: Does crime still pay? (pdf)

And the full report: Does crime still pay? Criminal asset recovery in the EU: Survey of statistical information 2010-2014 (pdf):

"In recent years, EU Member States and European institutions have focused their efforts on countering and preventing organised crime activities. The recovery of confiscated assets is considered one of the most important measures for fighting organised crime. In addition to national efforts, the European Commission, through the EU Directive (2014/42/EU) on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime, set important standards for the recovery of criminal profits/benefits. Since the proposal’s inception in 2012, many EU Member States have started to align their national legislation with these new standards, while others still have to implement measures to fulfil the Directive’s requirements. While many Member States have already set up specific bodies for the collection and management of these assets, named Asset Management Offices, the majority of EU Member States do not collect statistics on the seizure/freezing and confiscation of assets on a centralised level. At a European level, it is impossible to monitor the performance of the asset recovery systems, and of investigative techniques used during organised crime investigations across Europe, without data on the number and value of assets seized, frozen or confiscated.


This study aims to take the first step in collecting statistics on the value of seized/frozen/confiscated assets across the EU. It will identify a benchmark for future studies on the performance of investigative techniques and the implementation of the new EU Directive. Unfortunately, at present, data is not harmonised across the EU and the collection of information is not performed using the same standards by each EU Member State. As a consequence, this report provides conservative figures on the amount of assets seized/frozen/confiscated at EU level."

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