To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) legislative measures and (b) further reviews have been instigated as a result of the Arab Spring Asset Recovery Taskforce Review led by Michael Beloff; and if she will make a statement.
5 January 2015
Although no assets have been repatriated since 1 January 2014, there are a number of ongoing investigations and the UK authorities are assisting a number of overseas jurisdictions in their continuing efforts to recover criminal
funds. In 2011, the EU adopted restrictive measures in view of the situations in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, including an asset freeze on funds and economic resources owned or controlled by designated persons and entities. These
measures are implemented by EU Regulations, which have direct effect in the UK and are separate to those which enable the UK to restrain funds domestically for criminal or civil confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
HM Treasury publishes the names of those subject to such EU financial sanctions on the Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK, which can be found on gov.uk. HM Treasury is unable to publicly release information about
assets frozen in the UK or EU belonging to particular individuals due to restrictions imposed by EU and domestic law, both under sanctions and data protection legislation, as well as for reasons of confidentiality.
The Serious Crime Bill will implement one of the key recommendations of the policy review undertaken by the Asset Recovery Task Force, by lowering the legal test required to secure a restraint order to freeze assets. Other
recommendations of the review are to be delivered through the recently published UK Anti-Corruption Plan. These include the creation of a new central Bribery and Corruption Unit, bringing together resources from the National
Crime Agency and those of the Metropolitan Police’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit, and the review of the Suspicious Activity Report regime