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Lear's Macaws

Treasury written question – answered on 15th October 2001.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Conservative, Henley

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Customs and Excise investigation into the three Lear's Macaws seized in November 1998, indicating what steps are being taken to return them to Brazil for captive breeding and release of progeny to the wild.

Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Financial Secretary, HM Treasury, The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Lear's Macaws were seized together with a number of other birds in May 1998. Following an investigation, Henry Sissen was convicted in April 2000 on four counts relating to the illegal importation of the Macaws and other birds, and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment. He appealed against conviction and sentence, the conviction was upheld but the sentence was reduced to 18 months. In September this year a Confiscation Order was made reflecting Mr. Sissen's benefit from criminal activity in the sum of £150,000.

Mr. Sissen has since appealed against seizure. Customs cannot make a decision on the future of the birds until these proceedings are completed.

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