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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 01:17 GMT
Who might be targeted?
Kenneth Noye is among those who may be targeted
The Assets Recovery Agency, given the task of seeking out the ill-gotten gains of Britain's biggest criminals, begins work on Monday. BBC News Online looks at some of those it may target.

Kenneth Noye

Noye, 56, is serving a life sentence for the murder of motorist Stephen Cameron, who was stabbed to death on a slip road off the M25 in 1996.

He was convicted in April 2000 after being extradited from Spain, where he had gone on the run following the 21-year-old's murder.

In 1985 Noye was acquitted of murdering a police officer, John Fordham, who was investigating his involvement in the 26m Brinks Mat bullion robbery. Noye was later convicted of handling some of the stolen gold.

Despite managing to qualify for legal aid at his 2001 trial, Noye has been described as a multi-millionaire and the ARA will no doubt attempt to seize his assets.

Curtis Warren

Merseyside drugs baron Warren is in jail in the Netherlands but is believed to be sitting on a secret stash of cash worth up to 125m.

Curtis Warren is believed to have millions hidden in secret bank accounts
He was jailed in June 1997 for 12 years for conspiracy to smuggle heroin, cocaine and ecstasy into the UK from his base in Holland.

In February 2001 Warren, nicknamed Cocky, was given another four years after kicking to death a Turkish fellow inmate.

Warren, who was brought up in the Toxteth district of Liverpool, will be hoping the ARA has not found his treasure trove by the time he comes out in 2014.

John Palmer

There is an ongoing dispute over Palmer's millions.

John Palmer's money will no doubt be fought over
Palmer, nicknamed Goldfinger by the tabloid press, was jailed for eight years in 2001 over a timeshare scam which defrauded around 16,000 people.

He was ordered to pay 2.3m in compensation to 400 victims but the Crown then applied for a 33m confiscation order.

But this was overturned on appeal.

Palmer's victims are currently pursuing an 80m class action against him.

Northern Ireland paramilitaries

Among the targets bound to be on the ARA's list are loyalist and republican paramilitary gangs such as the UDA, UVF, LVF, Provisional IRA and Real IRA.

Last year it was estimated these gangs were making around 18m a year through smuggling, extortion and armed robbery.

Some paramilitaries also indulge in drug dealing, despite the anti-narcotic stances taken by many of these organisations.

ARA director Jane Earl said: "We won't back away from going after people involved in organised crime and terrorism. We hope it will help to rebuild society in Northern Ireland."

Tommy Adams

One of the leaders of the Adams family, which ruled north London's underworld throughout the 1990s but has since faded, he is coming to the end of a seven-and-a-half year sentence for conspiracy to supply cannabis.

The family, based in Islington but with bases in Spain and elsewhere, are believed to have assets worth several million.

They once made an ambitious attempt to take over Arsenal football club.

Ellis Martin

In December 1999 Martin was jailed for nine years for fraud received a 10m confiscation order, one of the largest ever imposed in the UK.

But Martin, 44, from Southgate, north London, is believed to have evaded 23m in duty during a career as a major cigarette and alcohol smuggler and the ARA may come looking for his assets.

Rebecca Atobrah

The leader of an African gang which cornered the market in crack cocaine from a base in Harlesden, west London.

Atobrah, 49, was jailed for 18 years last year and a 2.9m confiscation order was made against her.

Atobrah, who had property and other assets in her native Ghana, was the head of the UK franchise of a larger African drug dealing cartel.

Chinese Triad gangs

Several of the world's leading Triads, including the 14K, Wo On Lok, Wo Shing Wo and Dai Hoon (Big Circle Boys) are believed to have laundered money through UK-based financial institutions.

Others have invested in property - including restaurants and video shops in the UK - and may find their assets vulnerable to seizure by the ARA.





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