Most European states have put in place legislation or other measures to ensure the proper management of frozen or seized property, although improvements are still needed in certain countries, according to a report by the Conference of the Parties of Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism – known as the “Warsaw Convention“.
The report evaluates the extent to which 37 states parties comply with Article 6 of the treaty, which aims to ensure a systematic approach to the management of seized and frozen assets until the judicial authorities confirm the final confiscation order. Until then, seized and frozen assets should be preserved and administered in a manner that their value does not, at least, decrease. This applies to tangible assets – such as cars, buildings or precious metals – and intangible assets, such as intellectual property or virtual assets.
The report concludes that, although all states parties have adopted concrete measures to deal with seized assets, in some countries, these measures only address their storage until the final decision on their confiscation.
The degree to which systems of asset management are developed varies considerably across states parties. Some countries have established a well-functioning system of asset management upon their seizure (Belgium, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom) and many others generally comply with the provisions of Article 6 of the Warsaw Convention. Several states parties reported ongoing reforms to improve their existing systems (Germany, Latvia, the Republic of Moldova, Portugal, San Marino and the Slovak Republic).
Management of frozen or seized property: new report assesses compliance with Warsaw Convention