January 22, 2021

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Grapperhaus wants to take away “suspicious money” more easily

Grapperhaus wants to take away "suspicious money" more easily


Photo: ANP

Money or items likely to have been obtained through criminal channels should be easier to seize. Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus wants to change the law for this, he writes in a letter to the House of Commons.

The minister gives some practical examples, such as a person who lived in a building worth millions of euros but received benefits. “In these cases there is neither a specific criminal act nor a suspect,” writes Grapperhaus. If a person cannot prove that the person has legally received large amounts of money or expensive items, seizure should be possible without suspicion or conviction.

First, however, a judge must be called in and the person must be informed about the procedure. The burden of proof is also “in principle” on the government, and “those whose property can be seized must be given adequate legal protection”.

According to the minister, it is still too attractive for a suspect to write a “vague story” that is barely plausible. After that, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) has to conduct a lengthy investigation to gather additional evidence. “This costs the investigative authorities involved and the public prosecutor a disproportionate amount of time.”

The tax and customs administration does not offer any consolation either, because it can only take action against people who have their “main residence” in the Netherlands. Criminals who emigrate (on paper) to countries with which the Netherlands does not have tax treaties are therefore not affected.

The minister hopes to have a draft law ready in spring 2021.