Article 1 – Asset Recovery Offices
Article 1 of Council Decision 2007/845/JHA obliges Member States to set up or designate national Asset Recovery Offices (“AROs”) as national central contact points which facilitate, through enhanced cooperation, the fastest possible EU-wide tracing of assets derived from crime. The Decision allows the AROs to exchange information and best practices, both upon request and spontaneously, regardless of their status (administrative, law enforcement or judicial authority). It requests AROs to exchange information under the conditions laid down in Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA2 (“the Swedish Initiative”) and in compliance with the applicable data protection provisions.
For more information on how to contact you local ARO office, click here.
ARO meetings are scheduled twice a year at which the senior officers from each Member State meet to discuss matters of mutual interest. These dicussions surround topics such as proposals for new EU Directives and Regulations, matters being heard before the ECJ, and emergant issues and crime types.
Article 2 – Cooperation between Asset Recovery Offices
This Article requires Member States to ensure that AROs cooperate with each other in facilitating the tracing and identification of proceeds of crime and other crime related assets by exchanging information and best practices, both upon request and spontaneously. The exchange of information and best practices between AROs should take place regardless of their status (administrative, law enforcement or judicial authority).
Article 3 - Exchange of information between Asset Recovery Offices on request
This Article explains that the requests for information sent between AROs are regulated by the Swedish Initiative and its implementing rules. The Swedish Initiative introduced time limits to reply to requests for exchange of information between law enforcement services within the framework of a criminal investigation or criminal intelligence operation, as follows: Eight hours for urgent requests for information and intelligence regarding serious offences4 when the requested information or intelligence is held in a database that is directly accessible by a law enforcement authority One week for non-urgent requests for information and intelligence regarding serious offences when the requested information or intelligence is held in a database that is directly accessible by a law enforcement authority. Two weeks in all other cases (database not directly accessible and/or request not related to a serious crime). These stringent time limits are applicable provided that the requesting authority includes a number of items of information in the Swedish Initiative request form (subject of and reasons for the request, nature of the proceedings, details concerning the property targeted or sought and concerning persons presumed to be involved) as precisely as possible. Moreover, in all the above cases there is the possibility of postponement.
Article 4 – Spontaneous exchange of information between Asset Recovery Offices
This Article provides for an ARO to send information to another ARO without a prior request.
Article 5 – Data protection
The established rules on data protection apply to the exchange of information provided for by the Decision. The use of information which has been exchanged directly or bilaterally under the Decision is subject to the national data protection provisions of the receiving Member State, where the information shall be subject to the same data protection rules as if they had been gathered in the receiving Member State
Article 6 – Exchange of best practices
According to this Article, AROs should exchange best practices on how to improve the effectiveness of their asset tracing efforts.
Article 7 – Relationship to existing arrangements for cooperation
The Decision is without prejudice to the obligations resulting from European Union instruments on mutual legal assistance or on mutual recognition of decisions regarding criminal matters, from bilateral or multilateral agreements or arrangements between the Member States and third countries on mutual legal assistance and from Decision 2000/642/JHA and Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA.