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NEWS: Criminal assets confiscations still ‘rare’ and states need to step up efforts in seizing dirty money – MONEYVAL warns

By Alisha Houlihan for AMLi

EUROPEAN countries are not doing enough to confiscate criminal assets – and confiscations are still “rare” events, the Council of Europe’s AML expert group MONEYVAL warned today.

In its annual report released this morning the group said there is still “insufficient” recovery of proceeds from crime across states.  

The annual report for 2022 published today urged governments to “step up” their efforts to strengthen their national asset management and recovery frameworks. 

In a statement, MONEYVAL found that successful confiscations of criminal assets are “relatively rare compared with the estimates of proceeds of crime. ” 

According to the report, it is “crucial” to enhance the powers and resources of criminal asset recovery. 

Chair of MONEVYAL, Elżbieta Frankow-Jaśkiewicz said: “States should not only improve their results in identifying and freezing criminal funds. There is also an urgent need for them to greatly improve their results in confiscating and managing criminal assets, adopt stricter sanctions and increase the number of convictions for serious money laundering offences”. 

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has highlighted the link between authoritarian regimes, corrupt actors and illicit financial flows. The need to deny illicit actors access to the funds and resources used to facilitate harmful activities, including those that can undermine European security and stability, has become even more apparent. Governments should invest more in their national programmes to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and adopt stricter policies to prevent the laundering of proceeds associated with corrupt regimes”, she stressed.  

In its annual report, the AML and CTF body assessed compliance with international standards and developments in the legal and institutional frameworks. This was done in the 33 jurisdictions that it monitors by December 31, 2022. 

It found 72% of the legislative and institutional reform recommendations were fully implemented by MONEYVAL members. 

During the 5th round of mutual evaluations conducted by MONEYVAL, 21 of the 26 jurisdictions assessed were subjected to enhanced follow-up procedures owing to a limited level of compliance with AML/CFT standards by the end of 2022: Albania, Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Malta, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the UK Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man and Ukraine.  

In addition, MONEYVAL’s regular follow-up procedure includes Armenia, the Holy See, Liechtenstein, San Marino, and Israel. 

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