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Public discussion: The British Policies and Approach to Assets Recovery
On July 8, 2004 the Center for the Study of Democracy and Coalition 2000 hosted a public discussion The British Policies and Approach to Assets Recovery. The discussion presented the British experience in forfeiture of assets in accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act from 2002. Guest-speakers were Mr. John Tanner, Assistant Director, Performance and Policy, Assets Recovery Agency and Mr. Stephen Goadby, Policy Advisor, Financial Crime Team, Home Office. Mr. Tanner has served in a number of justice departments and tribunals at the British Lord Chancellor’s Department, such as: Civil Justice Division, District Bench & Tribunal Division, Financial Planning and Monitoring, etc. Mr. Goadby holds a long-term experience with the British Home Office in the area of immigration policy and forfeiture of cash.

The guest-speakers were presented by Ambassador Jeremy Hill, British Embassy in Bulgaria, who underlined the fact that UK had a long history in confiscating proceeds from criminal activities and thanks to the new legislature adopted in 2002, UK investigation offices became more sophisticated and targeted in their fight against organized crime. Ambassador Hill also said that he was delighted that the Bulgarian government was prepared to introduce a new legislature in that field.

The discussion among the participants was preceded by a short presentation, delivered by Mr. Tanner, on the following topic: Reducing Crime and the Fear of Crime by Making Sure that Crime Does Not Pay. The presentation focused on the activities of the recently established Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) and the three possible methods for assets recovery in the UK: trough conviction and confiscation, through civil recovery of property that was acquired in the last twelve years, and through taxation. At present, all the proceeds collected from confiscation of criminal assets and/or property in the UK go to a specially established governmental fund, which supports the activities of the financial investigation offices in the country and funds community projects directed at reducing crime at the local level.

Mr. Tanner concluded his presentation by emphasizing the major objectives of ARA and the recently passed legislature on assets recovery: reducing crime and increasing safety of community; seizing of criminal assets by means of confiscation, civil recovery or taxation; disrupting criminal business activities and promoting the use of financial investigation as a tool to fight crime.

Text of the presentation delivered by Mr. John Tanner (MS Powerpoint, 427 kb)

Media coverage (available only in Bulgarian)

Previous discussions

Assets forfeiture: a mechanism for combating corruption and organized crime, June 3, 2004 - discussion with the Chief Criminal Commissioner of Bavaria

Round table: Assets Seizure in Europe: Legislative and Operational Instrument to Counter Corruption and Organized Crime, March 2, 2004 - discussion with experts from Ireland, France and Spain

Round table: Draft Law on Law on Forfeiture of Criminal Assets - September 10, 2002 - discussion with US experts

Round table to present and discuss the Bulgarian Draft Law on Forfeiture of Criminal Assets - October 1, 2002
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