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First ever recovery of criminal assets from UAE secured by CPS

29th Aug 2014

Over £300 000 has been recovered by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after the sale of a Dubai apartment belonging to a convicted British criminal. It is thought that this is the first successful British confiscation order enforced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through the use of Mutual Legal Assistance.

The owner of the apartment, Redwan El-Ghaidouni, was convicted in March 2011 at Kingston Crown Court on drug importation and possession charges. In September 2012, the confiscation order was put in place for £417,031.52, which has now been fully satisfied after the apartment sale.

The recovery follows the hard work of the UK’s new CPS Proceeds of Crime Service (CPSPOC), which has been working closely with a CPS Asset Recovery Adviser (ARA) recently deployed in Dubai. Due to an asset sharing agreement with the government of the UAE, the money from the sale of the apartment has now been transferred back to Britain.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor at CPSPOC, Gary Balch, hails the achievement, and states that it is ‘unacceptable’ for drug barons to be profiting from criminal activity, and being allowed to keep what they have unfairly won.

He adds that criminals often believe that by moving their assets across borders and trying to hide them, that they cannot be confiscated, but this is not true. ‘The Crown Prosecution Service can and will follow the money wherever it leads’, Balch continues, and hopes this success serves as a warning to other organised criminals that they will be caught up with.

Balch believes that the action would not have been a success without the ARA based in Dubai, and hopes that by the end of the year, there will be up to five ARAs in different locations, including Europe, the Caribbean, and South Africa. This would allow even more hidden assets to be recovered, bringing more criminals to justice.