The landmark change will mean more criminal proceeds are recovered.

  • New standards for confiscating proceeds of crime confirmed today to ensure crime does not pay.
  • Landmark change requires countries to have non-conviction confiscation powers already in use in the UK.
  • More criminal proceeds to be recovered as implementation of higher minimum standards enable improved cross border cooperation.

International action on confiscating the proceeds of crime is to be toughened after a global standard setter today, 27 October, unveiled new rules that represent a major step forward in the fight against economic crime.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the global Anti-Money Laundering standard setter has announced it is adopting a new set of strengthened standards for seizure and confiscation, as a two-year project co-led by the UK reached its conclusion.

Law enforcement needs a suite of tools to disrupt and disincentivise criminals and strip them of their ill-gotten gains. Over 200 countries worldwide are signed up to the new wide-ranging standards, which for the first time include requirements for non-conviction based confiscation – a useful alternative or supplement to criminal proceedings and an already well used route in the UK to disrupt crime.

The UK’s domestic confiscation powers have been expanded in recent years, leading to the record recovery of almost £340m in 2022 to 2023 – a 75% increase compared to £194m in 2017 to 2018. Of this, £160.1 million was recovered using the UK’s non-conviction based powers.

Treasury Lords Minister Baroness Penn said:

“These new requirements for countries around the world make a difference here at home too – helping disrupt economic crime even when it crosses borders.

“Britain has been consistently driving higher standards in recovering proceeds of crime at the international table and the news today is both long overdue and hugely welcome.”

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said:

”Criminals shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Stripping them of their profits sends a clear signal that we will not tolerate their actions.

“The new standards set by the Financial Action Task Force are an important step in the right direction and send a powerful message.

“We will continue working with the global community to proactively target criminals, take their dirty money and use it for the public good.”

Further information

  • The full text of the changes is to be published by the Financial Action Task Force in the coming months. The FATF was set up by the G7 in 1989 to tackle dirty money from drug trafficking. Its mandate has since expanded to look at illicit financial flows across different crime types.
  • The Government’s second Economic Crime Plan committed to “Strengthen[ing] international asset recovery standards to improve cross-border asset recovery outcomes”. The updated standards deliver on this commitment.
  • Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) £339.1 million of assets were recovered from Confiscation, Forfeiture, and Civil Recovery Orders in the financial year 2022 to 2023. This represents another high year of asset recovery and is a 75% increase compared to £193.8 million in 2017 to 2018.
  • Of this, £160.1 million was recovered using the UK’s non-conviction based powers – £97.2 million was recovered through Forfeiture Order receipts; and £62.9 million was recovered through Civil Recovery Order Receipts, the highest value ever recorded, driven by a £53.9m order obtained by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Published 27 October 2023