Research Handbook on International Financial Crime
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Research Handbook on International Financial Crime

Edited by Barry Rider

A significant proportion of serious crime is economically motivated. Almost all financial crimes will be either motivated by greed, or the desire to cover up misconduct. This Handbook addresses financial crimes such as fraud, corruption and money laundering, and highlights both the risks presented by these crimes, as well as their impact on the economy. The contributors cover the practical issues on the topic on a transnational level, both in terms of the crimes and the steps taken to control them. They place an emphasis on the prevention, disruption and control of financial crime. They discuss, in eight parts, the nature and characteristics of economic and financial crime, the enterprise of crime, business crime, the financial sector at risk, fraud, corruption, the proceeds of financial and economic crime, and enforcement and control.
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Chapter 36: The pursuit of criminal property

Richard Alexander


Over the last few decades, increasing attention has been paid not only to prosecuting those who commit crimes but also to depriving them of the proceeds of those crimes. In the United Kingdom, a key policy document was the Report of the Cabinet Office’s Performance and Innovation Unit, ‘Recovering the Proceeds of Crime’, published in June 2000. This discussed why the British Government felt that asset recovery was important before setting out how this was to be achieved, paving the way for the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Although certain forms of recovery of criminal property were already in place in the United Kingdom, the 2002 Act both extended these forms, including the introduction of civil proceedings, and brought all the provisions under one piece of legislation, ending the divide that had existed up to then between drug trafficking and all other forms of crime. There are clear reasons why the removal of criminal property is important, above and beyond the mere fact that international instruments now demand it. One is the commonly stated argument that since certain crimes are committed in order to make money, if conviction will result not only in a prison sentence but also removal of the proceeds, then the motivation will be removed. In itself, this is questionable: almost 30 years after severe measures were first introduced in the United Kingdom to remove property linked to drug trafficking, the incidence of drug trafficking remains high.

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