The public prosecutor’s office wants to take tougher action against organized crime and has set up a new department for this purpose. It will make a lot of bycatch
Neukolln 2017: Police seize what they can get: In this case, 77 properties Photo: dpa
According to the Christian calendar, the Good News is only announced on December 24. But because there are so few reasons to rejoice in this earthly vale of tears, we present good news every day until Christmas.
Expensive real estate, posh cars and other luxury goods, in which money from organized or white-collar crime is hidden, will be less safe from state seizure in the future. A new department of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is to take care of their confiscation, started its work on Monday. Its goal is to fight organized crime even more effectively, the public prosecutor’s office announced on Monday.
For the start-up phase, Berlin has provided two prosecutors and four judicial officers, and two more prosecutors will strengthen the department in the coming year. They are to assist the investigative authorities and help them to implement a change in the law from July 2017 more consistently.
Since the amendment, prosecutors are still allowed to provisionally seize assets they believe have come into the suspects’ possession through fraud, extortion or other crimes while investigations are ongoing. If convicted, the scammed property then becomes the property of the country permanently or, depending on the verdict, may also be awarded to the victim.
Prosecution has 30 years to prosecute
However, the new department does not specifically target organized crime, but any type of criminal offense. "The principle is: crime must no longer pay," Mona Lorenz, deputy spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office, tells the taz. This means that anyone who steals a pack of cigarettes, smokes them up and is subsequently prosecuted for theft must not only pay the fine for the theft, but also the 6.50 euros for the cigarettes.
"The public prosecutor’s office now has 30 years to collect the 2.80 euros for the ticket from a fare evader"
The span within which the offenses become time-barred has been drastically extended by the amendment to the law: "The public prosecutor’s office now has 30 years to collect the 2.80 euros for the ticket from a fare evader," explains Lorenz.
Whether this is still good news? It is more likely to mean an absurd administrative burden. Whether the fare dodger pays a fine of 60 euros or 62.80 euros should be of little consequence to her. Organized big-time criminals who have to give up their Porsche or their villa in Grunewald are likely to be hurt more. After all, that’s good news, or a "positive side effect," as the public prosecutor’s office calls it.
And it’s also good news that common sense will come into play in the prosecution after all: the law contains a clause that allows the authorities to refrain from prosecuting on the grounds of insignificance.