HC Deb 19 September 2003 vol 410 cc1204-5W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the work of the Asset Recovery Agency. [130496]

Caroline Flint

The Agency is already making an effective contribution towards recovering criminal proceeds. Since the Agency became operational on 24 February 2003, the total value of assets under its investigation exceeds £17million 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 the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 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 Centre of Excellence in the Assets Recovery Agency has delivered training in the Proceeds of Crime Act to over 1,400 financial investigators in law enforcement agencies. This year it plans to provide enhanced training and accreditation in financial investigation to an additional 350 staff from law enforcement agencies and to 50 staff from other agencies. The Agency has also successfully raised awareness of the new powers in the Act by hosting a series of conferences and presentations; and by the issue of a monthly newsletter which publicises successes in recovering the proceeds of crime.