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Criminal Finances Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 17th November 2016.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Clause 3 supplements clause 1, on unexplained wealth orders, and clause 2. It provides for a request to be sent to another country to freeze property there that is subject to an unexplained wealth order, which addresses the point that the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton made in the debate on her amendment 1 about going after property abroad.

I will make two points for the benefit of the Committee. First, an unexplained wealth order can apply to property outside of the UK. That reflects the operation of existing civil recovery powers, which can include property overseas if a sufficient connection can be shown with the United Kingdom—for example, where the suspected criminal is British, the criminality is thought to have taken place in this country or there are victims in the UK.

Secondly, there is no international law that expressly provides for the freezing of property in relation to unexplained wealth order-type powers. We will need to liaise closely with other countries in relation what existing international law may underpin such a request, as well as working on obtaining wider recognition of unexplained wealth orders. The clause primarily creates legal certainty that such a request can be made. We also encourage recognition of such requests as part of the wider fight against international crime and corruption.

Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Crime and Prevention)

Once again, we have no problems with any of that, particularly as it allays some of those concerns about overseas property that were anticipated by amendment 1.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 3 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 4