External assistance

Part of Criminal Finances Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:15 pm ar 17 Tachwedd 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 12:15, 17 Tachwedd 2016

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.