Europol targets unexplained wealth

The need for effective contemporary mechanisms to combat serious international crime has motivated law enforcement and judicial authorities to examine the luxury lifestyles of criminals. Unexplained wealth is a strong indicator for criminal activity in many cases. The ability of both law enforcement and judicial authorities to target unexplained wealth using a variety of approaches, up-to-date national laws and an effective multi-agency policy, is more essential now than ever before.

On 15 – 16 September 2011, Europol, in its function as the permanent secretariat of CARIN (the Camden Asset Recovery Interagency Network), co-organised the annual CARIN meeting which was held in Sofia. This year’s CARIN event was hosted by the current CARIN Presidency of Bulgaria, through the activities of the Bulgarian Commission for the Establishment of Property Acquired from Criminal Activity (CEPACA), together with partners Hungary and Spain.

“Targeting Unexplained Wealth” was the focus for the 100 CARIN experts present. Their combined aim is to increase the effectiveness of asset recovery as an important tool to fight crime. Among other issues they discussed judicial strategies and how to improve international cooperation.

Europol’s Criminal Asset Bureau is currently active in its efforts to promote the identification and confiscation of criminal proceeds as an integral part of mainstream policing in the EU. Holding the Secretariat of CARIN remains high on the list of Europol priorities, utilising the experts within this network to ensure that all ongoing investigations supported by Europol have an asset identification component.

CARIN is a network of judicial and law enforcement expert practitioners in the field of asset identification, seizure and confiscation. There are currently 49 countries and jurisdictions and 9 international organisations that are members of the network. All EU countries are represented in CARIN, together with non-EU jurisdictions such as the United States of America, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Russia. Europol, Eurojust, OLAF, the UNODC, and the International Criminal Court are also CARIN Members. CARIN is now recognised globally as an effective tool for fighting international crime.

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