News In Focus
Scottish communities to benefit from criminal assets
More than £5.5 million was recovered for Scottish communities using proceeds of crime legislation in the past year, Crown Office announced today.
The Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini QC, said the figure should be a warning that criminals run a serious risk of having their assets seized by the courts.
For the seventh year running, the Civil Recovery Unit increased the amount recovered in one year, with more than £3.2m seized.
During the same period, prosecutors secured confiscation orders worth almost £2.3m against convicted drug dealers, money launderers and fraudsters.
The money recovered brings the total secured since the commencement of the legislation in 2003 to nearly £33m.
Announcing this year’s POCA figures, the Lord Advocate said: “These latest figures demonstrate that those who seek to profit from crime run a serious risk of having their assets seized by the courts.
“Our message is clear. These figures should be a warning that even if they have escaped justice to date, that we will be relentless in pursuing the fruits of their criminal activity – even beyond the grave. As our work and expertise continues to develop in this field more will be caught and prosecuted and those engaged in organised crime will at some point, lose the material or financial benefits gained through their crimes.”
Lesley Thomson, Area Procurator Fiscal for Glasgow, and the COPFS POCA Champion said: “The public rightly expects us to ensure that criminals and their families will not benefit from crime. The Proceeds of Crime Act gives us the tools we need to recover their unlawfully obtained cash and assets and we will use the Act to its full extent. Not only will we seek to recover their assets but we will disrupt their activities, prevent them reinvesting their profits, and wherever possible make it very difficult for them to carry out their criminal enterprises.”