Monday, May 28, 2007

New criminal asset recovery laws announced

It seems, whilst everyone else is talking about the new proposals for police powers the Government has also made announcements about how it's going to change the criminal asset recovery system. Sorry, did I say Government? I meant the Labour Party. You'll be hard pushed to find a press release about these changes from the Government, but the minister responsible has made a statement on the Labour Party website instead.

According to the press release, the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency has been a roaring success over the past five years. This is of course the most blatant load of bollocks since the last time they talked bollocks, but hey, the Labour Party faithful only want good news right? They should put aside the instinctive reaction that if it's been so great why the need for new powers?

The new powers are rather bizarre though. Firstly they want to extend powers "to include the seizure of cash and other assets such as cars or boats believed to have been used in crimes or are the proceeds of crime". 'Believed' to be, not proven to be? They also want to offer "citizens a percentage of assets seized for whistle-blowing on fraud committed against the Government". The grass on your family posters will appearing next.

The best proposals, and when I say best I do of course mean stupidest, is a plan to extend "the use of tax powers to target unexplainable criminal assets". Can you see the problem here? If the assets are unexplainable then they cannot subsequently be described as a particular sort of asset, in this case criminal. What they're actually proposing to do is say, irrespective of evidence, the Government will assume that assets are criminally sourced if someone cannot produce a receipt for them, which is just crazy.


Anonymous said...

Not if you believe, as the Labour Party does in its black heart, that private property is intrinsically selfish and uncaring - except when in the hands of honest Socialist families like the Benns, the Blairs, the Milibands or the Toynbees.

Worryingly, if you don't understand how the economy works you are likely to find pretty much all wealth inexplicable. After all, would you be so busy as a Socpialist trying to steal others' wealth if you had the slightest notion how to create it?

James Higham said...

Oh wonderful, Dizzy. so they turn their greedy eyes on, sy, your IT empire. You badmouth them a few times and you have the RIPA on you, they break and enter, carry away your gear to the value of the court costs and shut you down. Great future.

Anonymous said...

George Orwell warned us all, he just got the date wrong.
But it is alarming to see how we are being led into the future he envisaged.
When is this nightmare going to end in British politics?

Anonymous said...

You do have to be convicted of a crime before the Proceeds of Crime Act can stumble into action.

dizzy said...

At the moment. However, if you read the proposals they also talk about creating systems outside of the court. Not to mention what you point out has nothing to do with flawed nature of the premise that an asset (which can include something as small as a watch) has been gained through criminal activity because it is owned by a criminal.

Anonymous said...

Seizing back the Cash for Honours should make a good starting point.

Anonymous said...

The Agency has to demonstrate that your asset is linked to criminal activity. e.g. if you are convicted of selling drugs and are claiming benefit they'll seize your sports car.

You can appeal any seizer order in the High Court. All this is in
the Act. The fact their performance is so poor would suggest they already have issues getting these orders.

I think we all agree criminals shouldn't be able to benefit from their crimes. Unless we're asking that we need a conviction for every asset seized the only practical method is civil balance of probability judgements. This is the same method applied to 1000s of people in civil debt recovery cases every month.

Alan Douglas said...

Laws made by people who are convinced that all people are bad. I wonder where they get such knowledge ? Not surely from within the kerker of their own cancerous little souls, surely ?

Alan Douglas

Anonymous said...

so if the ermine for vermin gets to court and theres a result the assets will be recovered i cant wait for that.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the new proposals suggest that those under suspicion can have their assets seized.

There does not appear to be any safeguards in the consultation paper to allow for assets to be returned should subsequent court action prove innocence.

I am seriously concerned now that there are those within NuLab who see the Labour Party, Government and State as a single entity.

Chris Paul said...

I am seriously concerned that if anyone in LP is struggling with distinctions it is because Tory media continually conflate and confuse - when it suits them.

I don't see much wrong with over egged assets at least being taxed in some way; haven't they got power to do this anyway.

Certainly don't want it easier for proceeds of crime - including white colour crime - to becoem easier to squirrel away than before.

And I suppose there is a success if compared to the previous ten years even if we're only in tip of the iceberg territory.

"Proven" and "believed" - let's not start! Proven can be on the balance of probablities i.e. 50% plus or beyond reasonable doubt. Both of these being "believed" when you think about it.

That's even true in science.

Anonymous said...

Just to make things clear. I am the subject of an asset recovery and restraint order. I have not been conviceted of any crime. The restraint has been in place 10 months it has ruined my business. There is no easy way to go to court to fight the matter.
The best bit, asset recovery and restraint is not covered by legal aid and as all my assets are frozen I cannot pay a lawyer/barrister to fight my case.
I am guilty until I can prove my innocence. The Asset Recovery team are in no rush to go to court as they already have all my assets.
Be very clear this law is totally one sided.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonmyous

i totally sympathise, my relative has exactly the same problem - he has been accused of a crime (by HMRC)and proven not guilty in crown court. now his assets have been frozen by HMRC, he has to go the the high court, he can't get legal aid, can't pay a barrister - there is nothing he can do - he doesn't even have any assets, but they have frozen his bank account. Why? because of the crime he has been found not guilty of? is there anyone that can help innocent people like this? this is big brother in action

Anonymous said...

I am in exactly the same position. Proven not guilty by all members of the jury. However, told by asset recovery agency when they came in "Surrey police did not believe the verdict" Subsequently all my assets have been frozen. I also cannot afford to hire legal representation. This is the sort of thing that goes on in Robert Mugabe's governement never dreamed it could ever happen here. What needs to be done is that everybody who has been "raped" like this should band together and start fighting back. It is all kept very hush hush. The last thing they want is publicity. Surely there is someone out there who can expose what is going on.

Fighting said...

We have just this week ( 5/03/09)been served as directors of a small family company ( with a paper trail for everything) with this act

We have not been charged with anything and we are innocent of all 'presumed' accusations. BUT We have to prove that.

The act is such that they have cut off all access to money apart from £250 a week living expenses.

To get that £250 we have to FIRST apply through legal means to the prosecutor.

Because we have not been charged we do not even have access to legal aid

Are you starting to see the problem here?

WE are fighting this because luckily I have good friends who can help FOC

This is blatent misuse of the act

I can not obviously provide any case details.

I would be interested in comments


dizzy said...

email me