EU Council Recommendation on Simultaneous Investigations into Drug Trafficking by Criminal Organizations

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Thursday, August 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On April 25, 2002 the European Council issued a recommendation on improving investigation methods in combating organized crime connected to organized drug trafficking by criminal organizations and their finances/assets. In particular, the Council recommends the investigation method, including crime linked to organized drug trafficking consisting of investigating on all fronts, from the start, any activities linked with illegal drug trafficking and identifying the organization?s finances and assets. The Council recommends the establishment of permanent or temporary groups specialized in asset investigation so that greater efficiency in investigation methods will be promoted. In the background to the recommendation the Council explains that the sources for investigating assets may include internal ones, such as the databases of law enforcement bodies, or external, whether public (with public access where relevant) or private (consultation by means of a court order). The Council recommends that cooperation between competent law enforcement, court, and tax authorities and persons responsible for public or private registers of ownership holding information on assets of any nature be strengthened, by accelerating the processing of requests for information made by those authorities. In this regard, the Council Recommendation explains that a need for greater cooperation exists to expedite requests submitted by the competent law enforcement, court, and tax authorities to the persons responsible for various registers containing data on the ownership of assets of any nature held by the persons presumed to be involved in drug trafficking offenses.