Organised criminals ‘flouting laws and keeping dirty money’

Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay said wealthy crooks 'clearly have nothing to fear'.

Organised criminals ‘flouting laws and keeping dirty money’ iStock

Organised criminals in Scotland are flouting proceeds of crime laws and keeping their dirty money, figures suggest.

Analysis of Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service reports indicate that criminals were ordered to hand over almost £1.6m of criminal proceeds in the first three months of 2021.

However, they only paid a total of £74,000, according to the statistics.

Confiscation orders are given to criminals for them to pay back money that they have accrued from their criminal activity.

They are aimed at recovering dirty profits from drug dealing, people trafficking, cybercrime and other lucrative criminality.

Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman Russell Findlay described the figures as a “scandalous betrayal” of drug-scarred communities across Scotland.

“Under the SNP, crime now pays and wealthy crooks clearly have nothing to fear from proceeds of crime laws,” he said. 

“These figures represent a scandalous betrayal of every drug-scarred community across Scotland. 

“When proceeds of crime laws were introduced at the turn of the millennium, we were told they’d bankrupts those at the pinnacle of organise crime. They have failed. 

“If the SNP government was genuinely serious about tackling these gangs, they would give our police, prosecutors and courts the resources they need to do their jobs.” 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act remains an extremely powerful and effective tool in the fight against organised crime in Scotland.

“Where a confiscation order has been made by the court following conviction, the collection process is directed by the court process, however due to the size of the sums involved this can take time.

“Where payment is not made within the time allowed the case may be brought back before the court at which time any further enforcement procedure to recover the outstanding balance will be considered.

“This may include for example, the appointment of an administrator who will assist in the ingathering and management of realisable property.

“Between 2006/07 and 2020/21, almost £124m of ill-gotten gains has been recovered under the Proceeds of Crime legislation.”

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