Sanctioning Economic Crime

An integrated policy
Dirk Merckx

The sanctioning of economic crime has traditionally been a part of general criminal law. However, an economic criminal law appears to have been developed in modern economic systems as well. Administrative penal law and punitive civil law are also becoming increasingly important. The key question in this study concerns the use of sanctioning systems in combating economic crime. To this end, four central themes have been studied: the social definition of the issue of fraud, the legal techniques for sanctioning, the characterisation of the notion of sanction and the concrete implementation of sanctions as far as modalities and severity are concerned. By opting for a horizontal view of the problem with a very broad angle of approach, this study continuously compares European Union and European Community legislation, the American legal system and the instruments of the Council of Europe. The results also have been checked in relation to Belgian legislative practice.

On the basis of the problems and solutions that came to light in the analysis, a sanctioning policy scheme has been developed, aiming at a logical build-up of economic sanctioning dispositions based on an integrated sanctioning legislation. Finally, a number of policy suggestions have been defined in order to render the proposed scheme operational.

Dirk Merckx is licentiate in law (K.U. Leuven, 1986) and licentiate in criminology (V.U. Brussels, 1999), and was promoted to Doctor in law at the V. U. Brussels in 2002.

He is a First deputy King's Prosecutor at the King's Prosecution Office in Brussels, Belgium, where he has worked since 1989. In the organised crime branch he specialised in cases of international trafficking. Since 1994 he has worked in the Financial Crimes branch, specialising in money laundering cases. He is currently heading this branch comprising some thirty prosecutors, lawyers ands staff. He has published a considerable number of books and articles on different aspects of criminal law. As well as lecturing in Belgium, he has worked with several international organisations including the International Monetary Fund, the Council of Europe and the European Commission, providing both training and conducting evaluation missions in anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism a.o. in the Russian Federation and Eastern European countries, the Middle-East and Asia.