The team of researchers of the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences is implementing the research "Money Laundering in the system of the criminal gains control strategies" (LEKOSTRA)”, funded by the Research Council of Lithuania under the activity “Researcher Group Projects”.

The problem addressed by the project in the broadest sense is the effectiveness of control of the assets obtained through criminal means - while maintaining the standards of human rights protection. Since the 20th century the solution of this problem is one of the most actively developing area of criminal policy. States belonging to various legal traditions are looking for the most appropriate means of controlling criminally obtained property (the most radical form of control is confiscation) and are developing them one after another.

Effective and balanced confiscation in terms of human rights protection is achieved by various legal tools that embody different ideas/strategies: criminalization of money laundering, criminalization of illegal enrichment, extended confiscation, civil confiscation of assets, confiscation of unexplained wealth orders, tax penalties for unexplained income, taking property that is derelict, etc. unexplained wealth orders), mokestinėmis baudomis už nepaaiškintas pajamas, turtą paimant kaip bešeimininkį ir pan.

Criminalization of wealth legalization (money laundering) is one of the earliest strategies of this kind (first mentioned in international documents in the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances). The intensity of the search for and creation of new tools, the abundance of already created tools show not only the multi-faceted and interdisciplinary nature of the problem, but also indirectly - that it is difficult to find solutions for this problem, and that the first strategy does not live up to expectations. Why? Are the tools developed inherently flawed? Does their application cause practical problems? Or are they outcompeted by other measures and the reasons must be sought in the broader system of measures aimed at criminal assets?

In response to these questions, the research group of the project set the goal of the study - to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and balance of the criminalization of wealth legalization as a strategy for the control of criminal assets, from the point of view of human rights protection, in the general context of strategies for the criminal assets control.


The project team: researcher dr. Skirmantas Bikelis (project leader); researcher dr. Laurynas Pakštaitis, researcher dr. Darius Pranka and specialist Goda Dainauskaitė.

Duration of the project: 2023-04-01–2025-03-31.

The budget of the project is around 150 000 euros.

The project is funded by the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT), Contract No. S-MIP-23-40.