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Bill enhances state power to confiscate criminals’ property

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Prague, Jan 19 (CTK) – The Czech state will gain more powers to confiscate the property of those convicted of certain types of crime, according to an amendment to the criminal law and the Penal Code that the Senate passed on Thursday.

Eliska Wagnerova, senator for the Green Party and former constitutional judge, unsuccessfully demanded the rejection of the draft by the upper house.

The bill still needs to be signed by President Milos Zeman.

The amendment to the present law reacts to an EU directive that binds the EU member countries to take measures enabling either a complete or partial seizure of the property of a convicted perpetrator if the property originates from criminal activities.

The property seizure is not a punishment but a kind of a protective measure. It enables also to seize the property that is not directly linked with the crime on trial, if the seizure is necessary as a step to protect the society against further criminal activities, the amendment says.

The “extended confiscation” of property can be applied on perpetrators convicted for crimes such as money laundering, bribe taking, theft, money counterfeiting, public procurement manipulation, illegal drug production and blackmail, and for crimes implying at least four-year prison sentence.

The criminal origin of the property need not be proved “beyond any doubt” but “a strong probability” would be enough to apply the extended confiscation measure.

The court could take into account the disproportion between the perpetrator’s overall property and their legal income, or the fact that the perpetrator pursued profit-seeking criminal activities repeatedly, has contacts with criminals and always transfers money in cash.

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