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Assets Recovery Agency

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

The Assets Recovery Agency's Annual Report 2005-06 will be laid before Parliament today.

The report covers the Agency's third full year of operation and provides an assessment of performance against its Business Plan 2005-06.

The Agency continues to make an impact in disrupting criminal groups and seizing their assets. It disrupted a total of 79 criminal enterprises in England and Wales and 21 in Northern Ireland, exceeding the total target of 70. It did so by the early restraint of assets to the value of £85.7 million which exceeded the target of £25 million. The Agency adopted a total of 108 new cases for civil recovery and taxation investigation, exceeding the target of 100. It also adopted 38 cases for criminal confiscation investigation against a target of 20 cases.

The Agency obtained civil recovery orders and tax assessments in 24 cases with a value of £4.6 million. The total amount of realised receipts from recovered assets was £4.11 million. The time taken to complete litigation in civil recovery cases affected the Agency's ability to meet its targets on achieving final orders and realising receipts.

The Agency has delivered an extensive training programme for financial investigators, again exceeding its targets.

The Agency is also publishing its Business Plan 2006-07 today. The plan has been prepared by the Director of the Agency and has been approved by Home Office and Northern Ireland Office Ministers. The plan focuses on the Agency's aims, priorities and targets for the year ahead and sets out how the Director intends to exercise her functions in Northern Ireland.

The Agency will continue to exercise its powers of investigation and asset recovery against criminals in support of the Government's commitment to taking the profit out of crime.