The assets of criminals across the EU will soon be open to freezing and confiscation.
It is down to new measures adopted by MEPs, with victims set to be first in line to receive compensation under the plan.
The latest Europol study shows that only 1% of criminal assets are currently confiscated in the EU.
Ireland South MEP, Sean Kelly, said the measure is badly needed.
He said: "No individual should be too big to jail, no bank too big to fail and no member state too big to nail.
"I think if we do that we would make a good effort at solving this ridiculous situation that is denying citizens so much in terms of jobs and wealth because the best deterrent for this is a huge, draconian penalty."