Extinction of Domain and Fundamental Rights

The bill being discussed in Costa Rica basically seeks to extinguish the assets of organized crime, but there are those who claim that as proposed, it puts at risk the presumption of innocence of individuals.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The extinction of domain is a concept that in practice refers to seizing or confiscating assets linked to criminal activities, and then transferring them in favor of the State. This can lead to loopholes in the law, since generally any property whose origin cannot be explained by its owner would be in the sights of the authorities.

In Central America there are countries in which similar laws have already been passed and are in operation, such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. And in the case of Panama, in 2013 a draft of the subject was presented.

See "El Salvador Approves Forfeiture Act” and "Panama: Bill on Forfeiture of Assets".

In Costa Rica, on May 13, 2015, the special bill for the extinction of domain was presented to Congress, the discussion of which is still valid in the country. Within the framework of the discussions, at the request of the legislative commission processing the legal initiative, the Commission for the Master's Degree in Criminal Sciences of the University of Costa Rica prepared a report on the latest version of the draft Special Law on Domain Extinction.

The report states that "... From being a bill to dismantle organized crime through the suppression of profits, it becomes a bill that seeks to seize all capital whose origin cannot be explained by its owner, being irrelevant what that origin."

Nacion.com reports that "... the panelists question that the project contemplates an "extinction of domain formulated with confiscatory and sanctionatory nuances". "In this case, the presumption of innocence is breached by including an inversion of the burden of proof (if the administered party does not justify the origin of the patrimony, he loses it)," criticizes the report."

Regarding the experience in other countries where the law already works, Elfinancierocr.com explains that "... In addition to these three examples five other countries in the region already apply the extinction of the domain. In all of them there are doubts about the result of its execution although powerful blows are also pointed in favor. In Guatemala, the figure achieved the confiscation of almost $5 million in 2018. In the Central American country, a total of 97 domain extinction processes were carried out, with the result that assets passed in favor of the State. 20 more than in 2017."

See articles: From Nacion.com, "Proyecto de ley amenaza derechos fundamentales", from Elfinancierocr.com, "EF explica: ¿Qué es la extinción del dominio y por qué tiene tantos opositores", and "La extinción del dominio no se libra flaas ni críticas en los países latinoamericanos donde está activa".

More on this topic

Financial System at Risk Due to Change in Laws

February 2021

After the Nicaraguan Assembly approved a bill that forces local banks to allow public officials sanctioned by OFAC to have an account, there are fears that the country will be isolated from the international financial system.

A statement issued by the National Assembly on February 3 explains that the deputies approved the Law Initiative of Reform and Addition to the Law for the Protection of the Rights of Consumers and Users, a legislative project which guarantees a better and greater protection of the rights of consumers and users in the access to goods and services as a human right recognized by the Nicaraguan State.

Progress on Anti-Money Laundering Law

December 2019

The National Assembly of Panama approved in second debate the bill, by means of which it is intended to create the Superintendence of Non-Financial Subjects.

This legislative project, sent by the Executive Branch to be analyzed in extraordinary sessions, seeks to establish the exclusive competence to regulate and supervise in the administrative way the non-financial obligated subjects with the intention of preventing money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, informed the National Assembly.

Organized Crime and Capital Growth

February 2016

In criminal proceedings declared as special because of their delinquent nature, such as organized crime in Costa Rica, demands can be made, by civil means, for explanations of capital increases on the part of natural or legal persons who may lose them if they are not able to prove the legality of their origin.


Law Against Money Laundering in Honduras

December 2014

Although two articles are still pending, the Special Law Against Money Laundering Crimes approved by congress establishes harsher penalties for money laundering.

From a statement issued by the National Congress of Honduras:

The National Congress in session on Thursday, after a third and final debate of Article 74 to 92 of the draft Special Law Against Money Laundering Crimes, now has only two articles pending for Honduras have a new law for the fight against public corruption and establishes harsher penalties for those found guilty of forms of money laundering and is linked with other legislation aimed at implementing anticorruption sanction methods.

 close (x)

Receive more news about Legal

Suscribe FOR FREE to CentralAmericaDATA EXPRESS.
The most important news of Central America, every day.

Type in your e-mail address:

* Al suscribirse, estará aceptando los terminos y condiciones

Costa Rica ECO-Residential Development & Business

Real Estate Development & Adventure Park Jacó, Costa Rica. Multiple Investment Opportunities Available.
The Ocean Ranch eco-residential development is located...

Stock Indexes

(Apr 6)
Dow Jones
S&P 500


(May 10)
Brent Crude Oil
Coffee "C"