Legal alert no. 108
Directive (EU) 2019/1153 - Rules facilitating the use of information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of serious criminal offenses.
It was published on June 20th ,2019, Directive (EU) 2019/1153 of the European Parliament and the Council (“Directive”), laying down rules facilitating the use of financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of serious criminal offenses.
Combining the Directive with EU Regulation 2016/794, serious criminal offenses, which are ought to be fought through the access, availability, and use of information by the competent national authorities, include terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, money-laundering activities, human trafficking, robbery and aggravated theft, fraud, etc.
Therefore, the competent national authorities, through case-by-case assessment, can have access to (1) financial, (2) bank accounts and (3) law enforcement information. However, appointed personnel are required to maintain high standards of confidentiality.
Financial information means any type of information or data, such as data on financial assets, movements of funds or financial business relationships, which is already held by FIUs to prevent, detect and effectively combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Bank account information means information on bank and payment accounts and safe-deposit boxes contained in the centralized bank account registries.
Law enforcement information’ means any type of information or data which is already held by competent authorities in the context of preventing, detecting, investigating or prosecuting criminal offences, and include, inter alia, criminal records, information on investigations, information on the freezing or seizure of assets or on other investigative or provisional measures and information on convictions and on confiscations.
The Directive also provides for each national Financial Intelligence Unit (“FIU”) to collaborate with the appointed competent authorities, with the decision to disseminate the information, considering, on a case-by-case basis, objective reasons and national procedural safeguards.
Each Member State should ensure that its competent authorities (such as the FIU) can respond through Europol's national unit or even through direct contacts with Europol to requests made by Europol.
The Directive entered into force on July 10th, 2019 and the member States have until August 1st, 2021 to approve laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with it. Also, by February 1st, 2020, the Commission will establish a detailed monitoring program for the Directive and by August 2nd, 2024 (and thereafter on a three-year basis) the Commission will draw up and publish a report on the implementation of the Directive.
Finally, this Directive repeals Decision 2000/642/JAI, with effect from August 1st, 2021.
To access the full text of the Directive please click here.
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