Penal Issues (2006->) septembre 2003

COMBATTING MONEY LAUNDERING AT THE EUROPEAN LEVEL

par Peter HÄGEL,

Peter HÄGEL, a political scientist and a doctoral fellow at the Social Sciences Department of the Berlin Humboldt University, has spent time at the CESDIP during Spring 2003, as a participant to the Associated European Laboratory "Crime and Policies of Safety and Prevention : French-German Comparative Research". His work bears upon a comparison of European policies of control and regulation of persons’ and financial flows. He is reflecting on the ten-year old struggle against money laundering at the European level as well as on criminal law harmonisation.

1. A new law enforcement approach in the European Union

Throughout the last two decades, the European Union (EU), via the Schengen Conventions (1985-1990) and the Treaties of Maastricht (1992), Amsterdam (1997) and Nice (2001), is developing into what is called a common "area of freedom, security, and justice". During the same period, a new approach against profit-driven crimes has spread around the world, the fight against money laundering2 Its logic is to lower the incentives for such crimes by taking away the profits with a combination of three methods : (1) criminalising money laundering, the transformation of proceeds of crime into seemingly legitimate income or assets ; (2) preventive regulatory controls for private financial and non-financial institutions in order to deter and detect money laundering, and the setting-up of public Financial Intelligence Units which receive reports on suspicious transactions from the private sector for analysis and the decision whether to pass them on to law enforcement ; and (3) laws that allow for the confiscation of proceeds of crime.

 

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