New UK legislation to target criminal finances

David Mundell

Law enforcement agencies will be given new powers to seize the proceeds of crime and demand criminals explain the origins of their wealth under new UK legislation published today. Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the Criminal Finances Bill is “really important legislation for Scotland”. The UK government said the bill will strengthen the partnership between the public and private sectors, boosting the fight against illegal activity. Among the measures being introduced are unexplained wealth orders, which will force those suspected of serious crime to explain where their wealth has come from, or risk having it seized. Officers will also be able to seize a range of items including precious metals and stones and works of art. They will be able to take swift and effective action to forfeit criminal or terrorist funds held in bank accounts. Mr Mundell said: “This is really important legislation for Scotland. Organised crime and criminals do not respect borders, instead they work to exploit them, and to exploit people, causing misery and harm in their communities, as well as further afield. “The provisions in this bill give the UK’s expert law enforcement agencies the tools to bring to justice‎ the crime gangs who try to conceal the proceeds of their crimes. “We will work with the Scottish Government to ensure Scotland benefits from this vital UK Government legislation.”

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