A judge has ordered that £1.5m be confiscated from a company who assisted skippers with black fish landings.
At a proceeds of crime hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Turnbull said the money would be taken from Shetland Catch Ltd and the company would be fined £150,000.
Shetland Catch, from Gremista, Lerwick, had previously pleaded guilty to assisting fishing boats in making undeclared landings of mackerel and herring worth £47.5m between January 2002 and March 2005.
Lesley Thomson QC, the Solicitor General, said: “Shetland Catch Ltd sought to make huge financial gain with total disregard for the law.
“They knowingly assisted vessel skippers to under declare their fish landings and were involved in a web of deceit with their sole motivation being greed.
“The confiscation order and fine today justifies our resolve and determination to robustly prosecute those individuals or companies seeking to profit from serious and organised crime
“COPFS will continue to work with police and other agencies to utilise the powers under the Proceeds of Crime legislation.”
Detective Superintendent Gordon Gibson of Grampian Police, who led this investigation, said: “Those involved at the highest level of this company were absolutely complicit in this criminal activity. They allowed Shetland Catch Ltd to process massive quantities of unlawfully caught fish, in the full knowledge that they were committing crime and making huge profits from their actions.
“Shetland Catch Ltd earlier pled guilty to these crimes however, the confiscation order and fine imposed today by Lord Turnbull show that they will not be allowed to profit from their criminal enterprise.
“It is my hope that a very clear and lasting message that this will not be tolerated by the courts and society in general.”
At a previous hearing the court heard from defence solicitor David Burns QC that the company made £6.157m through the black fish scam, but he insisted his clients had paid tax on their illegal earnings.
The processing company also claimed that once the fraud was uncovered, quotas were slashed in following years, plunging the company into debt totalling around £11m.
Annual profits of around £3m were turned into losses of more than £2m.
Last December fishing boat skippers were told to hand over nearly £3m to settle confiscation demands in their own cases.
In February 17 skippers and a Peterhead-based fish processing company were fined a total of £1m for defying quota regulations.
Cephas Ralph, head of compliance at Marine Scotland said: “The level of the confiscation order and fine imposed by Lord Turnbull today underlines the unprecedented scale of illegal activity and deception we and the police uncovered during the course of this investigation.
“Shetland Catch Ltd developed sophisticated techniques with the sole purpose of concealing the true level of landings from our officers; therefore it is right that those involved face the consequences of their actions.”
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