Minister clarifies seizure procedure of Asset Team

PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman gave a complete overview of the recently-established Asset Recovery Team’s seizure procedure during Monday’s Parliament meeting.

Answering questions from Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger, Boasman said the time period between the seizure of goods and the sale of goods depends on many factors.

For example, there is an important difference between a criminal justice seizure and a seizure based on tax legislation. In terms of tax legislation, it is important if there is already an existing taxable/outstanding tax liability, in which case the goods can be sold very quickly, or, for example, if a tax assessment must first be imposed, in which case the sale procedure may take longer.

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In the process of criminal seizure, it is equally true that many factors play a role in the question how long it takes to sell goods. In this case a number of modalities are possible.

Suspect relinquishes the object (“agrees”): This is an out-of-court procedure and the Examining Judge has no role here. An exception to this is if the object has been confiscated by means of a conservatory attachment, i.e. with the permission of the Examining Judge, prior to the relinquishment. The suspect thus relinquishes the object and it is sold. A suspect may in fact, at any time of the procedure, renounce an object. Renouncing a seized property may also be included in a transaction or settlement agreement (in a removal case) as a precautionary measure.

Suspect does not relinquish the property (“objects”): If the suspect is opposed, then two situations may occur: (1) The confiscated property is sold before the Court session or (2) it is sold based on the sentence pronounced by the Judge.

In the event of a rapid reduction in value or if storage is considered otherwise undesirable, the Prosecutor will ask the Examining Judge, before the court session, for an authorisation for alienation (Article 142 Criminal Procedure Code). If the Examining Judge grants that authorisation, the object can be sold well before the case has been in session. If, during a criminal case, it appears that the suspect is acquitted (and the object should not have been alienated), then the suspect may start proceedings to be reimbursed for damages suffered.

“The Prosecutor will not, as a rule, demand permission for alienation, but only if the conditions of Article 142 of the Criminal Procedure Code have been met and a conviction is expected.

“During a procedure, confiscation of the property may also be requested if the object acquired was acquired by the offence, is the result of the offence, or if the offence was committed with the object. You can then think of the boat that transported the drugs or the car bought with the stolen money. The state then becomes the owner, as it were, and will try to sell it,” stated the Minister.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68202-minister-clarifies-seizure-procedure-of-asset-team

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