EU statement on the occasion of the Working Group on Asset Recovery of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
Vienna, 16/11/2020 - 12:00, UNIQUE ID: 201118_12
Statements on behalf of the EU
Working Group on Asset Recovery of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
14th Session, Vienna, 16-19 November 2020
Thank you, Mr Chair,
Let me start by wishing you success for our work in this session. We would also like to thank the members of the Secretariat for their efforts in these unprecedented times.
The identification, tracing, freezing, confiscation and recovery of assets is an effective way to tackle corruption and prevent that its proceeds are re-invested in the licit economy or used for further acts of corruption.
The European Union is making substantial efforts in this area. A Directive on confiscation, adopted in 2014, has now been transposed and implemented in all 27 Member States of the EU.
The EU is also working on enhancing the 2014 Directive on confiscation, revising the current legislative framework on asset recovery and confiscation to ensure that crime does not pay.
The ability to confiscate assets depends directly on the ability to identify and trace them, to "follow the money". Therefore, the EU continues to support the establishment of national Asset Recovery Offices and it is working on enhancing the existing legislation on Asset Recovery Offices, to provide the necessary powers and resources to these agencies. This will facilitate the fastest possible identification and tracing of assets and will likely lead in time to an increased number of confiscations.
The identification and tracing of assets is facilitated by the new EU rules against money laundering. On this basis, all EU Member States were obliged to set up centralised bank account registries and to facilitate the access to beneficial ownership information. As detailed in the Action Plan of May 2020, work is under way in the EU to assess further options to enhance the EU’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing, including for example an interconnection of centralised bank account registries.
The EU has also last year enacted new legislation which will enhance exchange of financial and other information in a timely manner and to improve cooperation between law enforcement authorities and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), between FIUs and with Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. This new legislation will also provide law enforcement authorities and Asset Recovery Offices with a direct access to centralised bank account registries.
Fighting against corruption in an effective way also requires a wide exchange of best practices. The EU organises regular meetings between Asset Recovery Offices in order to facilitate operational cooperation and the exchange of best practices on the identification and tracing of criminal assets.
The Union also supports the efforts aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of international cooperation in asset recovery, in particular by supporting the activities of the CARIN network of asset recovery practitioners and its affiliated networks (ARINs).