Hit them where it hurts most; the proceeds-of-crime approach in the Netherlands

J.M. Nelen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademic


During the last decade, throughout the world, more emphasis has been put on financial instruments in order to control and prevent money laundering, organised crime (and more recently) terrorism. In most democratic countries, follow-the money-methods have been developed, and legislation has been adjusted in order to find, freeze and confiscate criminal assets. In 1993 new legislation was adopted in the Netherlands to increase the statutory powers to deprive criminals of their assets. The strength and weaknesses of the policy theory behind the proceeds-of-crime approach is being discussed in this article. The findings of several evaluation studies show that neither the enforcement of the law, nor the effects are in accordance with the assumptions of the policy theory. The author concludes, that the high hopes regarding the deprivation of illegally obtained advantage are unrealistic. The same is bound to happen with regard to the follow-the-money-strategy in relation to terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-534
Number of pages18
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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