Belgium struggles to recover crime money

Belgium struggles to recover crime money

Justice has failed to recover 1.05 billion euros of criminal fines and forfeitures in the past five years, according to FPS Finance figures obtained by L'Echo and De Tijd Thursday. The state only managed to recover 38% of the criminal fines and forfeitures imposed by courts throughout the past five years.

Justice and Finance have difficulty in forcing those condemned to pay, despite legislation created in 2014 to investigate this recovery. Magistrates were specifically assigned to these tasks, but no new positions were created to ensure this, and prosecutors, labour auditors and general auditors fail to enforce judgments and decisions.

An anonymous judicial source regrets that we "constantly find means for putting people in jail, but not for taking their loot." According to many legal sources interviewed by the Echo, the money to be seized is mainly connected with organized crime cases (narcotics, human trafficking, prostitution …), which justice is too slow in dealing with, often leaving time for convicts to organise their insolvency and to stash their goods outside Europe.

"There is a major money reservoir," Liege Attorney General Christian De Valkeneer insists. A better recovery method would be a major source of revenue for the Belgian State.

The Brussels Times

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