Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
1. QUESTION 33
Would the Proceeds of Crime Act allow the Government
to act in a case like Abacha?
A difficulty with the Abacha case was that,
under current legislation, restraint can only be sought around
the time of commencement of proceedings. The Proceeds of Crime
Act will tighten this anomaly so that this point is brought forward
to the commencement of a criminal investigation abroad.
Would the Act allow the Government to act against
In relation to a criminal act committed abroad,
the Act will enable the UK to freeze assets on behalf of foreign
States with a view to enforcing their confiscation orders. The
UK will not be able to act unilaterally, unless there is a suggestion
that there has been an offence committed within UK jurisdiction.
If it is alleged that funds in the UK are the product of, for
example, foreign corruption, then a money laundering offence may
have taken place in this country and that may enable us to freeze
the assets on our own initiative.
Would it allow us to act against Mugabe if he
had a bank account in the UK?
As explained above, the UK could only act if
it is suspected that an offence has taken place in the UK, or
if it receives a request from an overseas government. The mere
presence of funds belonging to Robert Mugabe would not in itself
justify action, unless there was some other associated condition.
As I explained to the committee on the 16th
July, an EU asset freeze has been imposed on 20 members of ZANU
PF, including Robert Mugabe, which allows us to freeze bank accounts.
We have frozen the accounts of those people on the list who had
them in the UK. The EU list has since been extended to another
52 individuals, but this is under entirely separate powers from
the proceeds of crime legislation.
2. QUESTION 34
Is it your understanding that the Act gives
the British Government greater power to follow up leads which
are given by commercial banks on money which we would accept has
been obtained corruptly by a leader or politician?
Yes. The Act contains a range of new powers
such as monitoring orders, which will apply across the board to
the proceeds of all offences including corruption.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
29 August 2002