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Consultation on new powers to seize criminal assets

01 August 2017

A CONSULTATION has been launched on Codes of Practice that will help law enforcement officers confiscate valuable items that have been acquired using the proceeds of crime.

Law enforcement agencies will soon be able to seize works of art and precious stones and metals that are being used to launder criminal funds, which are often used to finance terrorism.

Measures in the Criminal Finances Act mean officers will also be able to seize betting receipts, casino tokens and gaming vouchers in the same way that they currently confiscate cash.

The Act, which received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017, gives law enforcement agencies, and partners, enhanced capabilities and greater powers to recover the proceeds of crime, tackle money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, and combat the financing of terrorism.

The Home Office says the amendments will make the UK an even more hostile place for the corrupt and the criminal through measures including unexplained wealth orders, which require someone who is expected of being involved in serious criminality to explain the origins of their wealth if it appears disproportionate to their income.

Security minister Ben Wallace said: “Criminals don’t just deal in cash, they move or hide their money in the form of expensive pieces of art, buying and selling valuable precious metal and stones or even purchasing rare stamps to mask their amassed wealth.

“It is vital that law enforcement agencies can take these high value, easily transportable assets from them so that they cannot use them to fund their criminal lifestyles.

“This sends a clear message to criminals that we will not stand by and watch them use the UK to launder their dirty money or fund terrorism. The changes will be supported by new Codes of Practice for law enforcement officers, which have been published for consultation. Following the four-week consultation the Codes will be subject to further Parliamentary scrutiny.”

The consultation closes on 25 August 2017 and you can see full details at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proceeds-of-crime-act-2002-and-anti-terrorism-crime-and-security-act-2001-codes-of-practice