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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 06:22 GMT
Crime proceeds case is UK first
Money shot
Colin Boyd says more seizure cases will follow
The UK's first successful civil court case to recover suspected proceeds of crime involved a man from Aberdeen, the Crown Office has revealed.

The 24,000 which was paid to the authorities is thought to have come from the profits of drug trafficking.

The Crown Office used the Proceeds of Crime Act to take the case to court.

The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, said he welcomed the outcome and added there were already other targets under investigation.

The case was brought by the Civil Recovery Unit (CRU), which is part of the Crown Office.

It started its investigation in June last year after the arrest of an Aberdeen man charged with the supply of controlled drugs.

PROCEEDS OF CRIME
Civil recovery takes place in the Court of Session
Civil recovery is a longer procedure than cash seizure, taking several months
1.5m has been forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act
20,360 has been forfeited by the Civil Recovery Unit
58,062 has been forfeited by the Criminal Confiscation Unit
Although the man was acquitted, a co-accused was found guilty.

The CRU went to the Court of Session, arguing that he had made regular deposits totalling nearly 46,000 into a bank account while on benefits with no other known legitimate income.

The CRU successfully argued that, on the balance of probabilities, the money represented the profits of drug trafficking and was therefore recoverable under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr Boyd said: "The money recovered was profit suspected to have been gained through drug trafficking at the expense of vulnerable members of our society - but it is not the amount that is significant.

"What is significant about the seizure is it demonstrates the new legislation is working and those suspected of profiting through crime are being penalised.

"This is a first for the Civil Recovery Unit who have other targets under investigation - so we can expect more proceeds of crime to be recovered in the future.

Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd
The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, said the case was a UK first
"In its first year of operation, the Civil Recovery Unit used its cash seizure powers to forfeit over 300,000 and now their civil recovery powers are having an effect.

"These add to the existing powers to confiscate the assets of those convicted of criminal offences.

"This year criminals and those in possession of the proceeds of crime should take note that they will not be permitted to profit from the misery of others."

He added that 50% of the assets recovered are retained in Scotland for initiatives to tackle drug issues and to help communities that have suffered as a consequence of serious and organised crime.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Colin Wight
"It is the first case of its kind to be brought in the UK"



SEE ALSO:
Courts seize criminals' assets
23 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Law targets criminal earnings
24 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Net closes on crime profits
25 Jul 02  |  Scotland
Cracking down on profits of crime
18 Oct 01  |  Scotland
Straw targets crime chiefs
05 Mar 01  |  Politics
Drugs assets seizure victory
05 Feb 01  |  Scotland


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