MEP Hayes calls for EU criminal asset recovery agency
20 Years on from establishment of CAB, no EU agency for criminal asset recovery
MEP for Dublin, Brian Hayes has today (Tuesday) called on the EU Commission to bring forward proposals for a new EU criminal asset recovery agency. The Fine Gael MEP made the call following reports that the gangland crime in Dublin is being directed from outside the jurisdiction of the Criminal Assets Bureau.
“The recent gangland murders in Dublin highlight the European dimension of serious crime. While the communities in Dublin are dealing with murder, the decision as to who lives or dies is coming from the Costa Del Sol. We need real and practical proposals to tackle organised criminal gangs in Dublin. I believe going after criminal’s assets is key to defeating Dublin’s gangs.”
“Freedom of movement in Europe and modern communication technology mean that criminals can simply move their money out of reach of the Criminal Assets Bureau and direct crime from a Mediterranean beach. An EU criminal assets recovery agency would take the fight to the gangs. We now need a dedicated agency to proactively go after the proceeds of crime on an EU wide basis.”
“At the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU in 2012, then Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s proposals for an EU wide Criminal Assets Agency were rejected. This proposal needs to be revisited. I support the Government’s proposals for mini criminal assets bureau in Dublin to target specific gangs but we cannot ignore the European dimension. We cannot fight EU wide crime on a member state by member state basis. This week Frances Fitzgerald will meet her counter parts from Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium. EU Justice Ministers cannot delay any longer in bringing forward robust asset recovery agency legislation. There has to be a willingness, in those counties where they pull the strings, to confront and tackle the bosses and ultimately close down their operations.”
“European co-operation in going after criminal assets is both dysfunctional and outdated. This has meant that criminal assets recovered in the EU have been miniscule. There are no reliable estimates of the size of criminal profits in the EU, but in Italy the proceeds of organised crime laundered in 2011 have been estimated by the Bank of Italy at € 150 billion. What we need now is an EU agency, properly resourced, with strong powers to take the fight to the criminal gangs.”
“The recent spate of gangland murders in Dublin is a clear warning to the Gardai and to the public that ‘narco-terrorism’ is now a feature of Irish crime. Moving to Spain or elsewhere must never be a means of escaping justice. The Gardai in association with Europol and other national police services must be in a position to follow Irish criminal assets and disrupt criminal gangs at home and abroad,” concluded MEP Hayes.