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Underworld boss Terry Adams loses court case over missing proceeds from crime

Terry Adams pleaded poverty but lifestyle included opera, spas and top restaurants

The notorious underworld boss Terry Adams has been ordered to pay back more than £650,000 after a judge refused to believe that he had spent all of the profits from his family’s vast criminal empire.

Adams, once head of a feared racketeering and drugs running operation, had claimed that he was so broke that he had to live off the earnings of his actress wife, Ruth, and went to court to plead poverty to avoid paying off his crime-related debts.

But a hearing was told that the couple lived on an average of £97,000 a year in the three years to 2013, spending thousands on hotels and flights.

Thousands of pounds were paid for visits to the Royal Opera House and on expensive meals at restaurants including the celebrity haunt The Ivy in London’s West End.

His wife, who recently appeared in the theatrical comedy Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be in London, spent nearly £15,000 in on dental work and diet programmes in 2013. Thousands more were spent on parking and on spa memberships at luxurious hotels.

In a ruling yesterday, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said that Adams had not been “full and frank” and ordered him to repay the balance of a £750,000 confiscation order imposed in 2007 after he was convicted of money laundering and jailed for seven years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the order against Adams, with interest, stood at £653,947.74 and was growing by £83 every day with added interest.

He sold his north London home in 2009 along with art and antiques and paid back nearly £365,000. However, the balance has remained unpaid.

Yesterday’s ruling was not the first setback for Adams as he sought to evade strict financial rules imposed after his 2007 conviction aimed at ensuring major criminals do not live off the their ill-gotten gains. He was put back in jail in 2011 after he failed to detail payments to the authorities including £7,000 for a stem-cell facelift.

Adams, who operated the so-called A-Team with two brothers from the 1980s, ran a ruthless organisation that has been implicated in a number of murders.

The gang started with the extortion of market traders in north London, before growing into an international criminal operation. His eventual jailing in 2007 followed the bugging of his home by MI5.

The gang was reputed to have made up to £200m, but police never found the money. The Adams’ financial manager who was responsible for moving around much of the case was shot dead in 1998.

Now out of prison, Adams claims to be head designer at the fashion label “N1 Angel” named after the area where he was born and where he came to learn of the “transformative power of style”, according to its website.

The ruling was a victory for the CPS and the National Crime Agency, which took the place of the Serious Organised Crime Agency - scrapped in part because of its failure to claw back significant sums from jailed criminals.

Nick Price, head of the CPS Proceeds of Crime department, said: “Through a series of nefarious means, Terry Adams has consistently sought to hide the proceeds of his crimes. We will now work hard to ensure that Adams pays his confiscation order.”