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Assets Recovery Agency

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Vernon Coaker, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Assets Recovery Agency's annual report 2006-07 and annual plan 2007-08 have been laid before Parliament today.

The annual report covers the agency's fourth full year of operation and provides an assessment of performance against its annual plan 2006-07.

The agency has continued to build on its earlier successes in disrupting criminal groups and seizing their assets. In 2006-07, the total amount of realised receipts from assets recovered by the agency was a record £15.9 million. The agency disrupted a total of 114 criminal enterprises, 92 in England and Wales and 22 in Northern Ireland, exceeding the total minimum target of 90. It did so by the early restraint of assets to the value of £73.6 million which exceeded the stretch target of £65 million. The agency obtained civil recovery orders and tax assessments in 40 cases with a value of £16.6 million. It also adopted 45 cases for criminal confiscation investigation against a target of 15 cases.

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

The agency's annual plan 2007-08 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 it intends to exercise its 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. The agency is committed to maintaining its efforts in the recovery of criminal assets during the transition period leading to the proposed merger with the Serious Organised Crime Agency, as provided for in the Serious Crime Bill.