Police seize record £25m from criminals

A record £25.8 million has been seized from criminals for public benefit following high-profile confiscations.

The new figure is up by about 20 million on the previous year, taking into account money from a Scottish engineering company that paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's government and money from a Russian businessman.

The Crown Office secured 13.9 million from Glasgow-based Weir Group, the largest confiscation order made by a Scottish court.

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An extra 6.5 million was seized from Moscow-based businessman Anatoly Kazachkov under proceeds of crime legislation, the biggest recovery from a civil case.

The record amount recovered by the Crown and the Civil Recovery Unit brings the total since legislation started in 2003 to nearly 60 million.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said: "Securing this record amount from those seeking to benefit from crime is a great achievement and a testament to all those involved in ensuring crime does not pay.

"Two cases which concluded this year, Weir Group and Anatoly Kazachkov, have helped boost figures to unprecedented levels, but this is about more than money.

"More important than the sums recovered is the disruption caused to both individual criminals and serious and organised crime groups in Scotland.

"Not only will we seek to recover their assets but we will disrupt their activities, prevent them reinvesting their profits, and wherever possible make it very difficult for them to carry out their criminal enterprises.

"We will also deter others from a life of crime by demonstrating our commitment to recovering unlawfully obtained cash and property."

The annual total for 2010-11 is made up of 16.5 million from convicted criminals and 9.3 million from cash forfeitures and asset recovery orders granted by the civil courts.

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Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the efforts of police and prosecutors.

He added: "The money will now be put to good use through our CashBack programme which supports a huge range of activities for young people.

"From grassroots football to youth groups, hundreds of thousands of youngsters will now benefit from this work.

"As a government, we will maintain our focus on tackling serious organised crime and will look again at the Proceeds of Crime Act to further refine it and increase its effectiveness in Scotland."