UK envoy voices support for asset recovery legislation

In a blog post titled “Crime mustn’t pay,” UK Ambassador Martin Harris voiced support for a draft law currently debated by the Romanian Parliament, under which illegal assets can be seized by the state. The ambassador underlined that a “robust system for asset recovery is part and parcel of an effective system for cooperation between British and Romanian police forces in tackling crime across Europe” and said Britain will continue to provide advice and support to Romania in setting up a system to confiscate the proceeds of crime. “We need to show that crime does not pay, and deprive the criminal networks of the money and other assets that they use to fund and expand their operations,” Harris wrote.

Recently, US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein also voiced support for such a project that would allow illegal wealth to be confiscated. Provisions eliminating the presumed legal nature of wealth were ruled out by the Constitutional Court from a Constitution revision plan, but President Traian Basescu insisted that the provisions must remain.

Commenting on this matter, former Justice Minister and honorary leader of the ruling coalition’s National Union for Romania Progress, Cristian Diaconescu, said in an interview to daily ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ that provisions to allow extended confiscation of wealth are necessary. “An attempt to trick Europe in this regard might have more severe consequences than in previous years. Before accession or in the first years after joining the EU, such legislation gaps could create credibility problems. Now we could have our access to European funds cut off,” he said.

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