Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by on Sunday, May 20, 2012 3:51 - 0 Comments

Scottish Civil Recovery Unit cooperates with law enforcement agencies to ensure “there is no place in Scotland for those who want a lifestyle funded by crime”

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By Stacy Keen

The Lord Advocate, Rt Hon. Frank Mullholland QC announced that it has been “another exceptional year for the [Scottish Civil Recovery Unit] with significant developments made in the way we recover property from those who seek to benefit from crime”.

The Scottish Civil Recovery Unit recovered cash and assets to the value of more than £3.5 million between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012, representing approximately a third of the £10.5 million recovered in Scotland in that period under the Proceeds of Crime Act.  Since its creation in 2003, the CRU has recovered over £26 million in cash and assets which has been reinvested in Scottish communities through the “CashBack for Communities” programme.

The amount recovered by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Civil Recovery Unit in the last 12 months brings the total secured POCA came into force to over £69 million.

The use of specialists in their field and cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies is said to have contributed to the increasing amounts recovered using POCA in Scotland with Rt Hon. Frank Mullholland QC commenting that “We continue to apply the best minds to this task, and our team of lawyers, forensic accountants, financial investigators and administrators are second to none in this regard.  Lastly, the continuing co-operation we received from other law enforcement agencies is vital to us, and we thank them for this and look forward to future collaboration in this area”. In the last year, the CRU has provided training on asset recovery and cash forfeiture to police forces and other agencies and inputs to the Scottish Police Financial Investigation and Economic Courses to increase awareness on POCA.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill said “We have also allocated approximately £2 million funding for financial investigators in the police and the Crown Office, to ensure even more criminals are targeted.”

The Head of the Civil Recovery Unit, Ruaraidh Macniven agrees that “the achievements of the CRU during this year were only possible because of continuing assistance and co-operation of the Serious Organised Crime Division within COPFS, the police forces of Scotland, the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies.” Mr Mcniven believes that the increase in the amounts that his team has recovered is also the result of the rise in the number of disclosure notices obtained from the Court of Session (Scotland’s highest civil court).  Disclosure orders enable CRU investigators to issue notices to individuals and organisations requiring them to provide information and/or attend interviews.

Lindsey Miller, Head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s Serious and Organised Crime Division

“The Proceeds of Crime Act is a powerful tool in our armoury in the fight against crime in Scotland. We continue to make maximum use of the legislation to deprive criminals of money and assets.  We target people who make money from all types of crime, from serious and organised criminals engaged in money laundering and drug dealing, to individuals committing tax and benefit fraud and immigration offences.  We have also applied to the court in a number of cases this year to have administrators appointed to take control of houses where accused have been unable or unwilling to sell them to pay the confiscation order. This sends a strong message that the Crown will not tolerate delay and prevarication in the payment of an order. Our priority is disrupting and dismantling criminal enterprises, and we will continue to work with the police, SCDEA, HMRC and DWP to achieve this aim.”

 


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