HC Deb 07 October 2003 vol 411 cc30-1W
Mr. Tom Harris:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the value is of criminals' assets recovered by the Assets Recovery Agency since its launch. [127970]

Caroline Flint:

I understand from the Director of the Assets Recovery Agency that, since the agency became operational on 24 February 2003, it has not yet recovered any criminal assets. However, the total value of assets under investigation exceeds £17 million in 33 cases, of which some £10 million is currently frozen under court orders in nine cases pending hearings for recovery orders. In addition, one tax assessment has been issued under Part 6 of the Proceeds of Crime Act for tax in excess of £250,000. The agency has also provided assistance to law enforcement agencies in 11 confiscation order cases raised under the previous legislation with a total value of £3.25 million.

The confiscation powers in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 are triggered by offences committed after the provisions were brought into force on 24 March 2003, so it will be a while before cases are dealt with by the Crown court in numbers. As of 31 August, six confiscation orders with a value of just under £120,000 have been made against convicted offenders in England and Wales. The value of cash seizures made under the new powers in the Act which came into effect on 30 December 2002 is over £34 million. 18 restraint orders have also been made on assets with a value of over £4 million. The Enforcement Task Force, in operation since last December, has enforced 248 confiscation orders made under the old legislation with a total value of £14.6million.

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