Greedy of Crime-Money. The Reality and Ethics of Asset Recovery
in: P.C. van Duyne, J. Harvey, G.A. Antonopoulos, K. von Lampe, A. Maljevic, A. Markovska (eds.), Corruption, Greed and Crime-money. Sleaze and shady economy in Europe and beyond, iOisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers 2014, p. 235-266
Posted: 1 Aug 2014
“Money makes greedy” is a platitudinous observation and of almost universal validity. It applies to individuals, corporations as well as states. Greed is a powerful motive and its satisfaction is frequently at odds with what is ethically and legally admissible, in particular if satisfied by crime. This leads to the second platitude: “Crime should not pay”. This is the basic principle to deny law breakers the ill-gotten gains they obtained from their deeds. In addition, there are many subsidiary reasons for reclaiming those illegal profits. In the past decades these subsidiary reasons have attracted more attention than the simple crime-should-not-pay principle for which reason we bring this to the fore in this introduction.
These subsidiary reasons for attacking crime-money concern unwanted law enforcement and economic effects of leaving the crime-monies with the offenders. In terms of law enforcement it may lead to an erosion of the rule of law while saved crime-money remains available for re-investments in new criminal undertakings.
Following the IMF and later the FATF (gu)estimates), there are internationally strong beliefs about the staggering volume of crime-money earned each year of which an unspecified part is ‘available for laundering’. Such strong beliefs cannot but strengthen the threat image as well as the expectations about the potential volume of recoverable crime-monies. How far are such expectations free of greed? Naturally, from the perspective of restorative justice ill-gotten profits should be returned to the victims and the public in general. However, there are indications that law enforcement recovery enthusiasm is also fuelled by greed or bounty hunting. Extravagant manifestations of asset recovery in the US should be taken as a serious warning that the greed of the authorities may grow on a par with that of criminals. Criminal assets recovery policy turned into a budget target undertaking instead of applying the principles of restoring justice
Is the Dutch criminal asset recovery policy exempt of such tendencies? Not a priori, though examples of US-style excessive confiscations are lacking. Nevertheless, this does not rule out a greedy policy driven by unrealistically high expectations leading to unfounded criminal assets recovery targets. Is that only window dressing or has it also practical consequences? This chapter investigates the practice of the Dutch criminal asset recovery system, its turnover, yield and its extra coercive powers against the background of (high) expectations and related targets.
Keywords: asset recovery, crime money, illegal profits, confiscation, ontnemingsmaatregel
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation