Study visit to Berlin on asset recovery

Dr. Jutta Kemper (left side, centre) welcomes the Albanian delegation with Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Besfort Lamallari (opposite) at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
Dr. Jutta Kemper (left side, centre) welcomes the Albanian delegation with Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Besfort Lamallari (opposite) at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

At the invitation of IRZ an Albanian delegation of eleven members visited Berlin between 17 and 20 February 2020 to learn about the German system of asset recovery. The background to this study visit is the Albanian anti-corruption plan. In view of the EU accession talks, amongst others, this plan is a key part of the reform of the justice system.
The Albanian delegation consisted of members of the following institutions:

  • Ministry of Internal Affairs;
  • Ministry of Justice;
  • Special Unit combatting organised crime;
  • Agency for the administration of seized assets
  • Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The delegation, which was accompanied by Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs Besfort Lamallari, started its study visit with expert talks at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. After Dr. Jutta Kemper, Head of Directorate, had welcomed the Albanian guests, the representatives of various divisions presented the main statutory amendments in asset recovery in Germany made in 2017. They also gave presentations on the following topics:

  • temporary securing of assets;
  • judicial procedures of asset recovery;
  • enforcement of asset recovery after a final court order;
  • compensation of victims;
  • international judicial legal assistance, including assistance in the enforcement of foreign judgements.

Together with IRZ expert Detlef Kreutzer, former Head of Department for Economic Crime at the Hamburg Land Office of Criminal Investigation, and Horst Bien, leading Senior Public Prosecutor in Duisburg, Prof. Dr. Martin Heger from the Humboldt University in Berlin then presented the fundamentals of European law with regard to asset recovery and explained the difference between an EU Directive and an EU Regulation.

On the following day the Berlin Criminal Court was the next stop on the study visit. There, Jörg Raupach, Director at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Berlin, and Dr. Nina Thom, Senior Public Prosecutor and Head of the Department for Asset Recovery, explained the responsibilities of the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office as well as the organisational changes within the new legal regulation of 2017. In the following expert talks the participants discussed statistical surveys on asset recovery measures, the cooperation with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and a pending case of clan crime in Berlin, in which 77 properties were confiscated. Afterwards, this case and other cases were examined from a police point of view during a visit to the Berlin Land Office of Criminal Investigation together with Police Vice President Marco Langer and Michael Horn, Head of Department LKA 31.

The study visit was concluded at IRZ’s Berlin office together with the two IRZ experts who had been with the Albanian guests during their entire stay. At first, Horst Bien talked about the organisation and areas of competence of the Duisburg Public Prosecutor’s Office. He presented the details of the statistical survey on asset recovery measures. Detlef Kreutzer finally summarized all topics of the study visit and once again pointed out the regulations which the EU accession candidates have to implement with regard to asset recovery.

Building on the topics of the study visit, seminars with all relevant partners are going to take place until the end of 2020, which will focus on a comparative analysis of the Albanian legal situation and the European requirements. Ideally, the seminar results will lead to proposals for specific legislation.