Home News New joint principles published to compensate victims of economic crime overseas

New joint principles published to compensate victims of economic crime overseas

by Brian Sims

The new agreement between the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) establishes a common framework to identify cases where compensation is appropriate and act swiftly in those cases to return funds to the affected countries, companies or people.

Under these principles, the organisations have committed to ensure that the question of compensation is considered in every case and to use all available legal mechanisms to secure it whenever appropriate. They have also committed to work collaboratively across Government to identify potential victims and use suitable means to return money in a transparent manner that minimises the risk of re-corruption.

Securing compensation for victims

The SFO and the NCA, working with the CPS, has secured £49.2 million in total compensation for overseas victims in five cases since 2014, including:

*£28.7 million of assets recovered by the CPS following the conviction of Ao Man Long, former Secretary of Transport and Public Works in the Macao Special Administrative Region, for corruption offences. The CPS ensured that Ao’s UK-based assets – part of the US$ 100 million hidden in offshore companies and over 100 bank accounts – were successfully returned to the Region’s authorities

*£349,000 paid to the Government of Kenya following the SFO’s prosecution of senior executives at printing firm Smith & Ouzman. The funds paid for 11 new ambulances to service hospitals across the country

*£4.9 million (US$7 million) compensation to the Government of Tanzania included as part of the terms of the SFO’s first Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Standard Bank

*£4.4 million recovered by the SFO from corrupt oil deals in Chad which has been transferred to the Department for International Development to identify key projects for investment to benefit the poorest in that country

*£10.9 million in a fourth SFO case which cannot currently be identified for legal reasons

The SFO, the NCA and the CPS are continuing to investigate and prosecute serious economic crime and will use these principles to identify overseas victims and aim to seek compensation where appropriate.

Economic crime is “corrosive”

Elizabeth Baker, head of proceeds of crime at the SFO, said: “Economic crime is corrosive wherever it occurs. It causes harm to some of the world’s poorest people. Where such conduct is proved in a UK court and the proceeds of the criminality are recovered, it’s right that we work collaboratively across Government to secure its return. The CPS, the NCA and the SFO worked together to agree how we can best do this transparently, consistently and in a way which develops and shares Best Practice.”

Andy Lewis, head of bribery, corruption and sanctions at the NCA, added: “We warmly welcome these compensation principles for victims of economic crime overseas. It’s vital that those who perpetrate bribery, corruption and economic crime are not only brought to justice, but also that their illicit gains are returned to the overseas victims of their criminality.”

Kristin Jones, head of the specialist Fraud Division at the CPS, concluded: “The principles make clear our commitment in this area, working with partners across Government in relation to compensating victims of crime at home and overseas, where we have successfully dealt with those responsible for fraud, bribery and corruption.”

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