On 4th October, a news release from the EU Parliament said that MEPs have adopted new rules to speed up the freezing and confiscation of criminal assets across the EU. The new measures include:
- introduction of deadlines: an EU country that receives a confiscation order from another EU country will have 45 days to execute the order; cross-border freezing orders have to be executed with the same speed and priority as national ones. Authorities will have 4 days to freeze the assets if the freezing request is urgent;
- standardised documents: standard certificates and forms will be used to ensure that EU countries act faster and communicate more efficiently;
- wider scope: where requested, EU countries will be able to confiscate assets from other people connected to the criminal and they can also act in cases where there is no conviction (e.g. if the suspect has fled); and
- victims’ rights: victims will be the first in line to receive compensation when confiscated assets are distributed.
The new rules still require the formal approval of the Council. They will take effect 24 months after their entry into force by means of an EU Regulation.