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CPS secures first ever recovery of criminal assets from United Arab Emirates

21/08/2014

Following extensive work both in the UK and Dubai, the new CPS Proceeds of Crime Service (CPSPOC) in London, working closely with the recently deployed CPS Asset Recovery Advisor in Dubai, has secured what is believed to be the first ever successful enforcement of a UK confiscation order in the UAE. The UK has recovered over £300,000 from the sale of an apartment in Dubai Marina belonging to a convicted British criminal.

Redwan El-Ghaidouni (DOB 24 December 1976) was convicted at Kingston Crown Court in March 2011 for offences of Drug Importation and Possession; a Confiscation Order was put in place in September 2012 for £417,031.52 and this Order has now been fully satisfied following the sale of the apartment. Thanks to an asset sharing agreement with the UAE Government, the full amount secured from the sale of the apartment has now been transferred back to the British public purse.

Gary Balch, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Proceeds of Crime, said: "It is unacceptable that drug barons should be allowed to profit from their criminal activity and our successful action in this case demonstrates our determination to deprive them of their ill-gotten gains.

"Organised criminals often move their assets across borders in order to prevent them from being confiscated - but the Crown Prosecution Service can and will follow the money wherever it leads in order to reclaim the proceeds of crime. Criminals often consider that hiding money overseas is a safe bet and that their assets will be untouchable - they are mistaken and should take note of today's result. 

"This would not have been possible without the work of our Asset Recovery Adviser based in the UAE, the first of our ARAs that were put in post by the Director of Public Prosecutions earlier this year. By the end of the year, we hope to have as many as five ARAs in place in different jurisdictions around the world allowing us to track and recover criminal assets wherever they may be hidden."

Background

  • The CPS currently has two Asset Recovery Advisors working in UAE and Spain. Plans are currently in place for three more: one focused on Europe, based in London; one focused on the Caribbean, based in Jamaica; and one in Pretoria, South Africa.
  • This is believed to be the first time that the British Government or any of its western partners have been able to use Mutual Legal Assistance to enforce a confiscation order in UAE, which was overseen by the CPSPOC lawyer based in London.
  • The CPSPOC lawyer based in London will also be making an application under s22 of the POCA 2002 to the Court to uplift the Order from £417,031.52 to the benefit figure (the amount by which Mr El-Ghaidouni benefitted from his crimes) of £424,891.12 as the property has realised far more than what it was valued at the time of the making of the Order.
  • On 30 June 2014, as part of work to tackle organised crime, the Director of Public Prosecutions launched a new service within the CPS which will work exclusively on recovering assets from criminals convicted in England and Wales. CPS Proceeds of Crime (CPSPOC) is responsible for all CPS restraint activity and all CPS enforcement activity together with a share of the CPS confiscation caseload. CPSPOC is led by the newly appointed Chief Crown Prosecutor, Nick Price. It will comprise of three central units based in London which will work on the most complex and high value cases. CPSPOC will also have nine regional teams located in the North East, North West, Wales, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, South East, South West and London. These CPS sites have been chosen to align with Police-led Regional Asset Recovery Teams (RARTs) and, in time, it is intended that the CPSPOC teams be co-located with the RARTs. CPSPOC will also work closely with CPS International Division and international partners around the world.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.