Soca wields new powers to freeze global assets of super-rich foreigners
The embattled Serious Organised Crime Agency heads into fresh controversy on Tuesday as it emerges it has won sweeping new powers allowing it to freeze assets of super-rich foreigners suspected of fraud.
Under the new rules quietly inserted into the Crime and Courts Act after extended lobbying from SOCA, the agency is allowed not only to freeze a person’s assets in the UK, but all over the world, even if the alleged crime did not take place in Britain. The only hurdle for SOCA is to prove that the person has at least one asset in the UK to launch a global hunt.
Such wide-ranging powers of seizure represent a huge extension of the organisation’s existing remit and could deter wealthy businessmen from unstable countries from investing in the UK.
London and the home counties have become magnets for wealthy foreigners from countries such as those in Eastern Europe where politically motivated litigation against business executives is common.
The new powers have come to light in a case SOCA is fighting against an Israeli businessman, Israel Perry, who has been convicted of pensions fraud in Israel.
Soca is trying to confiscate his London properties, assets and investments all over the world.
After the Supreme Court ruled last year that it was illegal for SOCA to seize Perry’s non-UK assets, the agency successfully pressed the government to change the law. This it did with amendments that came into force this summer.
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- < Previous
- Next >