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Senior officials from several different Ukrainian institutions have visited Spain to learn about our country's experience in the recovery and use of assets confiscated from drug trafficking crimes
The EU-ACT project (EU Action against Drugs and Organised Crime), funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, has organised a study visit to Spain, in collaboration with the National Plan on Drugs, to inform its Ukrainian counterparts about the Confiscated Assets Fund for illicit drug trafficking and related crimes.
For a week, senior Ukrainian officials from different public institutions and ministries visited Spain with the aim of studying the modus operandi in the recovery of confiscated assets from drug trafficking offences and, above all, their subsequent use. They were able to see first-hand how the National Drugs Observatory, part of the National Plan on Drugs, works, and how these confiscated assets are used. The assets are normally spent on social and anti-drug activities . They also learnt of the importance of the Plan’s joint work with other institutions that are also part of the chain working on the recovery of these assets, such as the Special Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office; the National Court; the ORGA (Office for Recovery and Management of Assets of the Spanish Ministry of Justice), Customs Surveillance, and the Centre for Treating Addictions, among others.
To show them a practical case of a confiscated asset, the delegation visited the Pazo Baión. This case illustrates the achievements and impact of the Fund. The property is a luxury villa dedicated to wine production, and belonged to a famous drug dealer in the 80s, Laureano Oubiña. The villa became quite well-known because, over the drug trafficker’s criminal career, images appeared all over the media of the mothers of young addicts demonstrating at the doors to this property against this illicit activity that was taking the lives of their children.
It was the first confiscated company. In 2007, it was publicly auctioned with a series of requirements, in order to avoid the reacquisition of the property by potential drug traffickers. The idea was that it be dedicated to wine production . The contract provided that, for the following 15 years, the buyer was required to employ drug addicts who were completing rehabilitation programmes in order to facilitate their incorporation into the job market. Likewise, it was determined that a percentage of the revenue from the annual wine production would be earmarked for the National Plan on Drugs for social action and for the fight against drugs in general.
The members of the Ukrainian delegation appreciated this visit and highlighted how well-organised the Plan is. They also showed their interest in promoting a similar institution in Ukraine. The Mental Health Centre and Drugs and Alcohol Observatory in Ukraine committed itself to actions aimed at achieving this goal.