Criminal assets no longer safe overseas following landmark judgement in Luxembourg

The District Court of Luxembourg's ruling is a massive boost for the National Crime Agency

The District Court of Luxembourg’s ruling is a massive boost for the National Crime Agency

A convicted drug dealer has lost US$500,000 of ‘hidden’ assets as the result of a landmark judgement in Luxembourg won by the National Crime Agency (NCA). This decision will bring the total amount seized by the NCA from Mr Amir Azam to more than £3.3 million.

The ruling – recently handed down by the District Court of Luxembourg – states that the proceeds of crime hidden by Mr Azam in Luxembourg may be seized on a civil basis by the NCA here in the UK.

Importantly, this is the first time that a foreign state has recognised and enforced a UK Civil Recovery Order. The decision represents a hugely significant step forward in the fight to recover the millions of pounds’ worth of assets that UK criminals have traditionally hidden abroad in their attempts to evade the reach of law enforcement.

Azam is a British national who’s currently serving a four-year prison sentence having been convicted of drug offences last year.

In September 2014, the NCA was granted a Civil Recovery Order in respect of five properties and money from five bank accounts in the UK and Luxembourg. In October last year, the High Court then ruled that two further properties could be recovered.

The UK assets have already been seized, while the ruling by the District Court of Luxembourg means that Azam has now also lost those assets hidden in Luxembourg.

Stephanie Jeavons, deputy director of the NCA’s Economic Crime Command, outlined the ruling’s importance by stating: “This decision is a significant step forward for us, and indeed for all UK law enforcement, in the fight to recover criminal assets hidden abroad. The National Crime Agency is working with a number of countries to retrieve the criminal proceeds squirreled away overseas, and there’s no doubt that this ground-breaking judgement paves the way for other countries to follow suit.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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