A new unit at the National Crime Agency (NCA) has been established to tackle serious instances of bribery, corruption and money laundering around the world. The International Corruption Unit (ICU) will bring perpetrators to justice and recover the proceeds of criminal acts.
Primarily funded by the Department for International Development, the ICU brings together anti-corruption work from the Metropolitan Police Service, the City of London Police and the NCA.
Jon Benton, joint head of the ICU, said: “The work we’re doing is absolutely vital for helping countries get back what is rightfully theirs. The message to individuals and companies who see developing countries as fair game is that the UK has zero tolerance for overseas bribery and corruption.”
Justine Greening, international development secretary within the new Conservative Government, added: “Corruption is not only picking the pockets of the poor. It’s also an enemy of prosperity and a brake on a country’s development. Through the International Corruption Unit, the best of British law enforcement will step up our aid work combating corruption head on across the developing world.”
The ICU will continue to drive forward the work of its predecessors with a focus on:
*Investigating grand corruption and recovering and returning money that’s stolen from developing countries and laundered through the UK
*Investigating the minority of UK nationals and companies who engage in bribery or other corrupt practices in developing countries
*Ensuring those responsible are brought to justice
Since 2006, 150 cases of overseas bribery have been investigated and over £180 million has been restrained, recovered or returned through the work of the ICU’s predecessors.
27 individuals and one company have also been successfully prosecuted.
The ICU is supported by a bespoke bribery and corruption intelligence unit within the NCA and has access to the NCA’s national and international specialist capabilities.
The Department for International Development will provide £21 million to the ICU for the five-year period to 2020. The combined intelligence and investigation approach is expected to deliver a significant increase in money laundering and overseas bribery cases, a greater focus on preventive action and a more strategic approach towards both identifying and then tackling corruption in priority countries.