Revealed: the £675m owed by UK’s richest criminals

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

More than half a billion pounds owed remain unpaid, despite threat of additional jail term

Some of Britain’s wealthiest convicted criminals, including major fraudsters, drug dealers and money launderers, have escaped paying more than half a billion pounds in fines, according to new figures from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The staggering sum of £675m represents the combined amount that 178 convicted men and women have been ordered to pay the courts. The  total figure is likely to be far higher, as the CPS data only relates to outstanding confiscation orders of more than £1m.

Most of the orders have been made under the Proceeds of Crime Act (Poca), legislation that came into effect in 2002 in an attempt to force convicted criminals to pay back money made from crime or face going back to prison.

But, according to an investigation by the Evening Standard and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, only a fraction – 11 per cent - of the money owed has been collected.

The five biggest debtors are: VAT fraudster Emmanuel Hening, who owes £47m; Shakeel Ahmad and Syed Mubarak Ahmed, who owe £19m each, also for fraud; drug baron Khalid Malik, who owes £11m; and money launderer Noel Young, who owes £7m.

Criminals can hide their assets in a variety of ways, for example, by transferring them into the names of friends or relatives, or companies incorporated abroad. It can then take years of legal battles to establish ownership.

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who brought in Poca, has admitted on the Channel 4 documentary being shown tonight that the legislation has been a “total failure.”

He says: “The Act has not been implemented effectively ... We need much more joined-up thinking on policy.”

After serving their original sentence, criminals can face another jail term of up to 10 years if they do not repay the money they owe – this is known as a default sentence. However, many of the 178 debtors have not served one.

The fact that confiscation orders are not being enforced is “a real frustration”, says Mick Creedon, chief constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, and Association of Chief Police Officers lead on asset recovery.

“If the court has imposed a sentence and a default sentence in lieu of the payment not being made, there is no reason on earth that shouldn’t be served. I find that quite staggering,” he says.

But Gregor McGill, head of the CPS’s organised crime division, explains: “Criminals go to extraordinary lengths to conceal the proceeds of their crimes from the police ... The CPS is able to confiscate these assets only once the police have located them.”

He adds: “The difficulties with enforcement are not an excuse for inaction. We are overcoming these challenges and the CPS is recovering more money every year.”

Fraud squad britain’s wealthiest convicts

Noel Young

Crime: Money laundering

Owes: £7m.

Sentenced to two years in 2006, he received a further 10 years in 2009 for failing to repay his debt and another 12 years in 2011 for running a drugs ring from his cell.

Khalid Malik

Crime: Drug offences

Owes: £11m

Jailed for 25 years in 2005 for plotting to import £7m worth of heroin to Bradford. The confiscation order followed in 2010.

Shakeel Ahmad and Syed Mubarak Ahmed

Crime: VAT Fraud; Owe: £19m each

Jailed for seven years in 2007 for masterminding a £37m tax fraud and then for an extra 10 years in 2010 for failing to repay money owed.

Emmanuel Hening

Crime: VAT Fraud

Owes: £47m

Jailed for 15 years in 2006 and for a further nine years in 2010 for failing to repay debt. He was transferred home to France under an extradition deal and released in 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future