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New joint principles published to compensate victims of economic crime overseas

1 June, 2018 | News Releases

The 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 we have committed to ensuring that the question of compensation is considered in every case and to using all available legal mechanisms to secure it whenever appropriate.

We have also committed to working collaboratively across Government to identify potential victims and utilise suitable means to return money in a transparent manner that minimises the risk of re-corruption.

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

  • £28.7m 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 Mr Ao’s UK-based assets – part of the US$ 100m 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 SFO prosecution of senior executives at printing firm Smith & Ouzman. The funds paid for 11 new ambulances to service hospitals across the country.
  • £4.9m (US$ 7m) compensation to the Government of Tanzania included as part of the terms of the SFO’s first Deferred Prosecution Agreement, with Standard Bank
  • £4.4m recovered by the SFO from corrupt oil deals in Chad which has now been transferred to the Department for International Development to identify key projects for investment to benefit the poorest in that country.
  • £10.9m in a fourth SFO case which cannot currently be identified for legal reasons.

The SFO, NCA and 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.

Serious Fraud Office Head of Proceeds of Crime, Elizabeth Baker 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 is right that we work collaboratively across Government to secure its return.

“The CPS, NCA and 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 & Sanctions at the National Crime Agency said:

“We warmly welcome these compensation principles for victims of economic crime overseas. It is vital that those who perpetrate bribery, corruption and economic crime are not only brought to justice but that their illicit gains are returned to the overseas victims of their criminality”.

Kristin Jones, Head of Specialist Fraud Division at the Crown Prosecution Service said:

“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.

Notes to editors:

  1. Full text of the General Principles can be found here. These identify remedies for asset recovery and/or compensation available under:
    1. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for confiscation and
    2. The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 for compensation.
  2. These principles follow the launch of the UK Anti-Corruption Strategy in December.
  3. Further information on SFO Proceeds of Crime team can be found here with full accounting statements included in the Annual Report here.