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Surge in Confiscation Orders

There was a flurry of Confiscation Orders granted by courts around Scotland in February. The actions saw the Serious and Organised Crime Division and the Civil Recovery Unit together recover around £325,000 from the proceeds of crime.

Confiscation Orders

Confiscation Orders are one of the tools available to the Crown under the Proceeds of Crime (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). They can be used by the Crown where a guilty party is deemed to have benefited financially from a crime.

A Confiscation Order allows the court to order someone who has been convicted of a criminal offence to pay a fixed sum of money from the proceeds of crime.

They are generally sought by the Serious and Organised Crime Division (SOCD) of the Crown Office. SOCD works together with colleagues at the Civil Recovery Unit, and other law enforcement agencies, such as the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, UK Police Forces, HM Revenue and Customs and Department for Work & Pensions to identify and recover the proceeds of crime.

Recent examples

A few recent examples of the use of a Confiscation Order include:

* The case of Jack Downie, who was the subject of a Confiscation Order for £187,300 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in February. Downie had been sentenced to two years in jail for embezzling £386,004.12 from Aberdeen City Council.

* The case of Robert Alexander Dalrymple, who was the subject of a Confiscation Order for £51,000 at the High Court in Edinburgh. He had been sentenced to six years and 357 days in prison for a contravention of Section 4 (3) (B) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (concerned in the supply of cocaine) following a police surveillance operation.

Role of the Civil Recovery Unit

It is also possible to recover the proceeds of crime without the need for a criminal conviction. This non-conviction based civil recovery scheme is governed by POCA, with the work involved being carried out by the Civil Recovery Unit.

One recent example is the £5.6 million civil settlement entered into late last year between the Civil Recovery Unit and Aberdeen based oil company Abbot Group Limited.

The company had discovered that corrupt payments had been made in connection with a contract entered into by one of its overseas subsidiaries and an overseas oil and gas company, and had taken advantage of the self-reporting initiative introduced when the Bribery Act 2010 came into force

The company was able to comply with the strict self-reporting criteria and £5.6 million was assessed as being the amount by which the company had benefited from the illegal behaviour.

Sums recovered

According to the Crown Office, more than £10.5 million worth of proceeds of crime was recovered in the year 2011-2012.

Those sums brought the amount recovered by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Civil Recovery Unit since the commencement of POCA in 2003 to over £69 million.

The money has been put to the Scottish Consolidated Fund to be reinvested in Scottish communities via the CashBack for Communities programme.


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Sunday, 23 June 2024

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