Romania’s Parliament has passed legislation allowing for the confiscation of criminal proceeds, eight years after the Constitutional Court gave the green light to the law.
The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill unanimously on Tuesday allowing for criminal proceeds from someone convicted to at least four years to be confiscated even if the goods have been put in someone else’s name.
The law will be sent to President Klaus Iohannis who needs to sign off on it. It can be challenged at the Constitutional Court.
The law was initiated in 2017 and was approved by the Senate but only reached the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday.
It will put into practice a 2014 European Union directive. The European Commission considers confiscation a strategic priority in the fight against organized crime and corruption former Justice Minister Ana Birchall said.
She said the legislation will cover crimes including official misconduct, and conflict of interest.
The former justice minister said the law is important as stolen goods are often registered in a third party’s name. ‘Extended confiscation’ as it is called represents the confiscation of goods obtained through crimes, without it being necessary to prove the links between the crime and the seized possessions.
It can be applied in cases where third parties, such as family member, knows or ought to have known that the transfer of goods was to avoid them being confiscated, Mrs. Birchall said.
The confiscation of goods originating from criminal activities was decided by Romania’s Constitutional Court in 2012 but didn’t produce results.
‘Extended confiscation’ was introduced in Romanian Criminal Law in 2012 and is expected to have great impact in Romania including in cases of fraudulent public procurement.
A verdict can include extended confiscation if the offender is convicted for a minimum four years in prison, if the value of the possessions surpasses their legal income, and if the court is certain that the respective goods come from severe crimes.
According to the law originally adopted in 2012, the prosecutor has to provide evidence that the offender was involved in serious crimes, like organized crime. This type of punishment applies only in the cases of serious crimes, and exclusively to a convicted person, not to seize property, a right defined in the Romanian Constitution.