BusinessBusiness RecoveryInsolvency experts to hunt for criminal assets

Insolvency experts to hunt for criminal assets

Customs is planning to use no win/no fee insolvency practitioners to target criminal assets built up as a result of VAT and excise frauds.

The intention is to make extensive use of seizure powers under the Proceeds of Crime Bill, which were introduced to tackle money-laundering and to freeze suspected terrorist assets, following the September 11 attacks on America last year.

Customs has already increased the number of financial investigators on their staff and are planning to go further.

The Treasury said it had ‘given higher priority to criminal asset detection, investigation and recovery’.

In response to a Commons Public Accounts Committee report calling for more action to reduce tax losses from fraud, estimated at up to £7.3bn annually, the Treasury said detailed plans had been drawn up ‘for delivering a substantial improvement in the detection, investigation and recovery’ of criminal assets.

It said prosecutions would be pursued against major organised frauds ‘particularly in cases where there is reason to believe that substantial assets will be confiscated following prosecution’.

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