TOUGHER ASSET CONFISCATION LAWS TO CRACK DOWN ON SERIOUS CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

TOUGHER ASSET CONFISCATION LAWS TO CRACK DOWN ON SERIOUS CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

Posted on 10. Aug, 2010 in News

Authorities will be given stronger powers to seize property and assets likely to be used for serious criminal activity under new measures designed to clamp down on and prevent organised crime, Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls said today.

Mr Hulls said the amendments to the Confiscation Act 1997, introduced into Parliament today, would give police and prosecutors the tools to stay ahead of criminals, while also providing a strong deterrent to would-be crooks.

“The new measures will improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to identify and freeze properties, cars, and other assets used to support crime in Victoria,” Mr Hulls said. 

“By further strengthening Victoria’s already tough confiscation scheme, the Brumby Labor Government is sending a strong message to criminals that crime does not pay.

“Under these changes, new anti-avoidance measures will give the courts even stronger powers to crack down on money laundering schemes, making it even more difficult for criminals to evade the law and hide ill-gotten gains.

“The bolstered information-gathering powers will make confiscation proceedings more efficient and will give authorities more power to manage assets frozen for confiscation, such as properties subject to mortgages, to preserve the value of assets forfeited by criminals.”

Additional measures also include:

  • New powers for authorities to confiscate lawfully acquired property in substitution for property used in a crime. For example, a vehicle purchased lawfully by a criminal could be confiscated instead of a stolen vehicle used in a crime; and
  • Bolstered automatic forfeiture powers in relation to money laundering offences and serious fisheries offences (such as abalone poaching) so that more assets can be seized automatically upon conviction.

 

Mr Hulls said the Brumby Labor Government introduced new laws in 2004 that gave authorities the power to seize property and assets tainted by crime, without the need for a criminal charge.

“The existing asset confiscation powers have been successful in starving criminal gangs and networks of the resources required to carry out their operations,” he said.

“The new powers will continue to put pressure on organised and serious crime in Victoria, while also providing the appropriate safeguards to protect the rights of individuals who are affected by asset confiscation measures.”

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