Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders made this known today in a speech today at a joint UK-Spain Asset Recovery Forum in Madrid. Attendees at the conference include the Spanish Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martínez, and senior prosecutors and law enforcement officers.
According to the CPS, data from the criminal justice system suggests that there is around £200 million worth of criminal assets in the UAE and Spain.
Saunders said: "Prosecution is not just about punishment – the modern prosecutor can do far more to disrupt criminals than ever before. The proceeds of crime are laundered and used to fund further crime; they are the lifeblood of organised criminals, fraudsters and terrorists. Asset recovery is a means of restricting that blood supply and I'm determined to use it to its full extent."
Over the past decade the amount successfully confiscated from criminals has gone up from £25m to more than £150m a year, with the CPS saying that it is responsible for recovering more than two thirds of that in 2012/13.
The CPS now plans to deploy up to six specialist lawyers as Asset Recovery Advisors (ARAs) overseas to priority countries, to work directly with local criminal justice agencies and partners in government to improve asset recovery over the short and longer term.
The CPS already have some specialist prosecutors in Egypt, the Caribbean, Italy and elsewhere who do asset recovery work as part of their role, but extra funds have now been made available to finance the two new dedicated ARAs in Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Asset Recovery Advisors will be dedicated not just to enforcing individual confiscation orders, but also to assisting in changing the legal and operational environment in those countries, to better allow for many more illicit assets to be recovered.
The CPS said that 60% of the Spanish Asset Recovery Office's work is related to British cases and it has identified 12 priority cases worth more than £10m in criminal assets there and also in Dubai.
The UK is the only Western jurisdiction to have assets restrained in the UAE, currently valued at approximately 3.6m dirhams (£590,000), and in Spain a number of properties are restrained and due to be sold in Marbella and Benidorm, the CPS added.
Saunders said that there is more it can do to recover the proceeds of crime “and further improving our performance in this crucial area is a priority for the CPS and for me personally”.