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City Police to use private law firms to confiscate assets

The City of London Police have announced a scheme to work with private firms of solicitors  to freeze assets and compensate the victims of fraud. The City of London Police has established a working group which also includes the National Crime Agency (who have their own powers under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) and the Metropolitan Police. Under the proposed scheme, which is scheduled to last for two years, private City firms, will be funded to pursue actions in the High Court to freeze and recover assets. It is assumed that such actions will run parallel to police investigations into fraud which can take years. Currently, the City of London Police use powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to restrain assets in the Crown Court. Confiscation proceedings follow conviction and can take place many years after the event. This could mean that assets are dissipated in the meantime (if Restraint Orders are not sought). The potential cost to the taxpayer is not known at this time. In fact, using civil law as opposed to criminal law methods to 'confiscate' assets could mean that defendants in criminal proceedings may not face the daunting prospect of lengthy default sentences in the event that they are unable to pay confiscation orders. The first step in a claim for fraud in civil proceedings in this context is likely to be the making of a freezing order.

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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.