The proposed measures, which would extend existing legislation on the seizure of the proceeds of drug-related crimes to include other offences, stem from an action plan approved by EU leaders at the Amsterdam summit in June last year.But while the Austrian presidency says it is hopeful that a deal can be reached, other EU diplomats say divisions between member states over what crimes should be covered by any new legislation make agreement next week unlikely.Although there are already laws on member states’ statute books governing the seizure of proceeds in certain instances, EU governments agree on the need for tougher legislation.“It shouldn’t matter whether the proceeds of the crime come from drug offences or environmental offences,” said one diplomat. “If it is an illegal act, I see no objection to criminalising money laundering.” But while most governments support the idea in principle, tough negotiations are likely over precisely which crimes should be included when ministers discuss the proposal for the first time at their meeting next Thursday (24 September).Under the draft plan now on the table, offences subject to prison sentences of four years or more would be covered.“The main problem is the threshold. There are some member states which would like to have a shorter period and some even longer,” said one EU official. She added that she was “not too optimistic” that the proposal would be agreed by ministers at next week’s meeting.However, the Austrian presidency insists that it is confident ministers will be able to agree on the four-year threshold as an appropriate medium ground. “There are some states that want to expand the scope even further,” said an official at Austria’s justice ministry in Vienna. “We believe this is the compromise that is politically feasible.”The draft proposal, drawn up after more than a year of talks in working groups made up of national officials, calls on member states to adopt their own laws on the confiscation of criminal proceeds both in purely domestic cases and in those initiated by other member states. It also urges national authorities to cooperate with one another in investigating money-laundering cases.