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Public discussion on draft Law "On civil forfeiture of illegal assets"

15/10/2019

Today, a round-table discussion on the draft Law "On civil forfeiture of illegal assets" was held under the chairmanship of Deputy Minister of Justice Srbuhi Galyan. Nearly three dozens of representatives of state bodies and civil society representatives attended the meeting organised with the support of the United Nations Office in Armenia.

Greeting the participants of the discussion, Deputy Minister Galyan presented the main provisions of the draft Law and stated that the best international practice was studied and introduced during development of the draft Law, adding that the Ministry of Justice is willing to refine the presented draft Law after new proposals and discussions.

According to the Deputy Minister, adoption of the Law will provide the competent body — the Prosecutor General's Office — with the opportunity to study, in case of existence of relevant grounds, the lawfulness of acquisition of assets and submit a claim with the demand for civil forfeiture of assets, if assets are detected, the acquisition of which is not substantiated, i.e. through sources of income and the value of which currently exceeds the threshold of AMD 50 million. The study may include the ten years preceding the launch of the study, and an exception for a study in a period earlier than a decade has been prescribed in the cases when the possible evidential base is maintained not only for the competent body, but also for the respondent.

Srbuhi Galyan emphasised that the aim of the draft Law is to remove illegal assets from economic circulation and return them to the legitimate owner, and in case of absence of the latter — to the State. " The beneficiary of this law are not law-abiding citizens, as the Draft lists specific types of crimes, including organised crimes, illicit circulation of narcotic drugs and weapons, trafficking, as well as corruption transactions, in the case of criminal cases instituted in relation to which proceedings for examination may be initiated," the Deputy Minister informed.

During the discussion, the Deputy Minister and Ani Varderesyan, adviser co-ordinating certain functions within the structural subdivisions of the Ministry, also touched upon the terms of limitation of actions envisaged by the draft Law, the protection of the rights of bona fide acquirers, trainings for judges under relevant cases, and several other issues.

Afterwards, a question-and-answer session was held with the participants of the discussion.

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