EU directive adopted making post-trial use of evidence more flexible
The government agreed to amendments to the penal code on Thursday as well as to related laws, according to which Estonia will adopt the European directive on the freezing and confiscation of criminal proceeds as well as items used to commit a crime.
The most important changes to be made to the law compared with current legislation are that the proceeds of a criminal act to be confiscated will now also include profits made using criminal assets. At the same time, the list of different types of assets that fall under this category will be extended.
For example, in the future the authorities will be able to confiscate a criminal’s escape car on top of what they used directly committing the crime.
Among other things, the amendment will make either the Tax and Customs Board or the Police and Border Guard Board the authorized administrator of confiscated assets, depending on the type of the seized item and the authority involved.
Where currently existing law restricts the possibility of the use, the selling, or the destruction of such an item on the part of the Estonian authorities, the legislation to be introduced will make it possible to use a confiscated item for social or educational purposes, for instance.
Current law obliges the administrator to preserve all assets left in the hands of the state, regardless of their condition or usability. The new bill will allow them to destroy an item the preservation of which is too costly, lacks commercial value, and which cannot be disposed of in its current form.
The bill would also permit the government to sell or destroy a piece of evidence if its legitimate owner does not collect the item within six months from the date of notification of the authorities’ decision to return the item to its owner.