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Cutting Off Criminal Gain: Interdisciplinary Perspectives of Confiscation of Criminal Wealth

The objective of research "Cutting Off Criminal Gain: Interdisciplinary Perspectives of Confiscation of Criminal Wealth" is to lay down the foundations for a stronger control of profit-oriented crime (drug trafficking, fraud, smuggling, tax-evasion, corruption and etc.) by examining the opportunities to confiscate illicit proceeds more effectively than hitherto, and by providing recommendations for introduction of modern integral (interdisciplinary) legal model of confiscation into the Lithuanian legal system. The issue of effectiveness of confiscation of property is common not only for Lithuania, but for European Union as well. The need to address this issue from the new perspective developing alternative interdisciplinary (criminal, civil, tax) mechanisms for seizure of illicit assets was emphasized by both the European Commission and, very recently (October 2011), by the European Parliament.

 
The study is carried out by a group of experts of different branches of law (criminal, criminal procedure, civil and tax). First the limits for seizure of property set by the constitutional standards of protection of human rights shall be defined in order to set the outermost acceptable limits for the simplification of the procedure of seizure of assets (especially regarding questions of the burden of proof and threshold of evidence). The binding provisions and recommendations of international and European Union law will be analyzed and good practices of implementation of most recent confiscation mechanisms in other EU MS will be examined. Legal mechanisms set in the Lithuania‘s legal system, that are or could be used to seize the illegally acquired property shall be analyzed in detail as well as issues of the effectiveness of implementation in practice.
 
The research focuses at wide range of mechanisms for cutting-off of illegal assets: 
  • Confiscation of crime proceeds; 
  • Extended powers of confiscation; 
  • Confiscation of instrumentalities of crime and confiscation of their value; 
  • Confiscation of all or part of offender‘s assets as a punishment;
  • Criminal liability for illicit enrichment;
  • Non conviction based confiscation in criminal proceedings or after criminal proceedings;
  • Confiscation in civil – administrative proceedings;
  • Taxing of illicit assets
 
As a result of the research model of balanced with regard of human rights and effective legal mechanism for seizure of illegal assets shall be proposed.
 
Study results will be published in a monograph, presented in a scientific conference.
 
Partner of the project - Vilnius University.
 
Researchers: dr. Skirmantas Bikelis (Law Institute of Lithuania, Head of Criminal Justice Research Department), dr. Aistė Medelienė (Vilnius University, Faculty of Law, Department of Public Law, Associate professor), dr. Rimantas Simaitis (Vilnius University, Faculty of Law, Department of Private Law, Associate professor), Mindaugas Girdauskas (Law Institute of Lithuania, Researcher), dr. Tautvydas Žėkas (Senior specialist at Ministry of Justice, Administrative and Criminal Justice department, Criminal Justice division), Matas Mulevičius (Law institute of Lithuania, Legal System Research Department, Specialist).
 
Duration: 01/04/2012 - 31/12/2013
 
The project is funded by Research Council of Lithuania under the programme "Social challenges to national security."
Project funding agreement number: SIN-14/2012.