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.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Life and Style
Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital