On 6 March 2013, Eurojust gave a press briefing in the European Council’s Press Centre in Brussels to provide more insight into Eurojust’s activities and achievements in the fight against serious organised crime, including terrorism and fraud.
Eurojust’s press briefing included presentations on Eurojust and its work and achievements. Several case examples on duty fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism were presented by Ms Michèle Coninsx, President and National Member for Belgium, Mr Carlos Zeyen, Vice-President and National Member for Luxembourg, Mr Leif Görts, National Member for Sweden, and Ms Anne Grøstad, Liaison Prosecutor for Norway.
Eurojust stressed its unique character. The President explained that Eurojust organises judicial coordination meetings between the concerned prosecutors or police officers in organised crime cases, with full respect for the different legal systems. On the day of the actions, Eurojust can set up a coordination centre, with direct lines to the field, and even launch judicial measures in real time. Since Eurojust’s began operations in 2002, the amount of cases and coordination meetings has increased, with 1 533 cases in 2012.
After this introduction, the National Members explained how Eurojust facilitates cases. Ms Grøstad presented a duty fraud case, opened in August 2012, concerning a company suspected of selling biodiesel fuel from the USA and Canada as a Norwegian product, resulting in a duty loss to the European Union of an estimated EUR 48 million. Simultaneous house searches in Luxembourg and Norway were coordinated by Eurojust in only two weeks to avoid the removal of evidence. Mr Zeyen further explained that a legal basis had to be found, and that, within a few days, the simultaneous house searches in Norway and Luxembourg took place, witnesses were interviewed in Luxembourg, an arrest took place in Norway, and seized evidence was transferred from Luxembourg to Norway, as planned. Carrying out the simultaneous actions on such short notice would have been difficult, and perhaps impossible, without the coordination offered by Eurojust. The case is still under investigation.
Mr Görts presented a drug case, which began in November 2008. A notorious Swedish criminal received deposits in bank accounts in Sweden, Spain and France, and 10 false companies had been set up. Surveillance went on for more than one year before a huge quantity of cocaine was seized on a sailing boat in July 2010. Eurojust was involved at a very early stage and set up a joint investigation team with the concerned authorities of several Member States.
Mr Zeyen presented a third case, illustrating On-Call Coordination, a 24/7 system for judicial authorities and law enforcement to reach Eurojust National Desks in urgent cases. Late on a December evening in 2011, a French National Prosecutor contacted the National Member for France via On-Call Coordination to obtain the freezing of a bank account in Luxembourg. The French National Member then during the same night called the Luxembourg National Member for advice. The Luxembourg National Member overnight then contacted the Luxembourg Financial Intelligence Unit. Immediate action followed. At 8:00 in the morning of the next day, the concerned bank account was frozen, and in the course of the same day, an official seizure took place.
Ms Coninsx, who is also Chair of the Eurojust Counter-Terrorism Team, followed by explaining Eurojust’s role in well-known terrorism cases, such as the Madrid bombing and the case on the Norwegian solo terrorist, Anders Breivik. This case was also facilitated by Ms Grøstad at Eurojust.
Eurojust maintains close contacts with a network of national correspondents for terrorism, who have an obligation to provide Eurojust with all their information on terrorism.
Speakers were available after the press briefing for interviews and bilateral contacts.
More information on Eurojust, including annual reports in all official EU languages, newsletters, information on On-Call Coordination and how to conclude a JIT, can be found on this website.