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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 10:07 GMT
Agency seizes property worth 12m
Dermot Craven strongly protested his innocence
Dermot Craven strongly protested his innocence
The Assets Recovery Agency has frozen more property in the Manchester area worth almost 12m.

The agency alleges 77 properties controlled by Dermot Craven and Brian Pepper have been funded by the proceeds of crime and used to launder money.

The ARA's Manchester investigation first came to light just over a year ago.

Then, Dermot Craven strongly protested his innocence and any connections with republicans in County Armagh.

Following a High Court application, the Agency has now served Property Freezing Orders (PFOs) on several companies and directors.

Mr Craven and Brian Pepper's property firm was raided in October 2005 by the Assets Recovery Agency.

'Complex investigation'

Now in the High Court, the agency has alleged that Paul Dermot Craven and Brian Pepper established the property portfolio through the proceeds of unlawful conduct, including money laundering, tax evasion, false accounting, mortgage fraud and benefit fraud.

Jane Earl, Director of the Assets recovery Agency, said: "This is the latest stage in one of the largest and most complex investigations the agency has undertaken.

"In our case to the High Court we have alleged a number of companies and individuals have been involved in laundering money and a series of mortgage frauds.

"In these investigations to date we have frozen a total of 92 properties valued at 13m, and the investigation is still ongoing.

"This is a further demonstration of the power of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the way in which it is being used to attack crime at all levels across the UK."

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