Money Laundering

Attorney General – in the House of Commons on 31st January 2019.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting money laundering.

Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox The Attorney-General

The Crown Prosecution Service plays a central role in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and the pursuit of asset recovery within our criminal justice system. Dealing with illicit finance through the prosecution of money laundering offences remains a critical priority for our prosecuting agencies. Just last year, more than 1,400 convictions were sustained where it was the principal offence charged in the Crown Court.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

It seems that the Government need to get an even firmer grip on the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service. Does my right hon. and learned Friend have any plans to strengthen oversight in that way?

Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox The Attorney-General

My hon. Friend must remember that the financial action taskforce in December carried out an evaluation of system responses to money laundering. Of the 60 countries assessed, the United Kingdom emerged first for having the most effective system in the world for combating money laundering. Set against that background, we can make improvements and I hope to make them through the governance changes that I am introducing. We are instituting a ministerial board, which I shall chair. We shall have a much stronger grip on information coming from the Crown Prosecution Service, and we hope to anticipate problems before they arise.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

Will the Attorney General further outline how much money seized from criminal assets in the assets recovery scheme has been reinvested into community funds in the past year?

Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox The Attorney-General

Last year, £80.1 million was recovered by the Crown Prosecution Service, but I am afraid that I am not in a position to help the hon. Gentleman with regards to the community funds. I can undertake to write to him with those details, and I hope that he will be satisfied with that.