17 Jul 2008 05:37 PM
Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) publishes Annual Report 2007/08

REVENUE & CUSTOMS PROSECUTION OFFICE News Release (PN08/004) issued by The Government News Network on 17 July 2008

22 years imprisonment and a confiscation order of over £3 million as Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) repatriates stolen 2,000 year-old Turkish statue (and other tales from the RCPO Annual Report 2007/08)

"As a specialist prosecutor, our caseload has remained complex, challenging and varied. The mix has included Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud, large-scale drug importation cases conducted for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), complex tax fraud, the illegal arms trade and breaches of export controls, money laundering and the first prosecutions in support of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation." David Green, Director, RCPO.

From the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) 2007/08 Annual Report, published (17 July 2008).

The Annual Report shows that RCPO:

* achieved at least one conviction in 91% of cases we prosecuted

* completed 1,289 cases involving 1,712 defendants

* obtained 485 confiscation orders worth £75.5 million (an increase of £19.8m)

* confiscated £21.1 million of criminal assets generating £3.5 million in income for the department through the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS)

* provided advice and, where appropriate, prosecuted in relation to some 125 operations since SOCA's inception in April 2006

* made a total of 1,016 individual charging decisions over the year under what was a successful first year of operation of its prosecutor charging scheme, of which 937 (or 92.3 per cent) were decisions to charge immediately

* convicted some 207 defendants in MTIC fraud to date, with over 900 years of imprisonment and confiscation orders worth £108 million imposed.

Highlights from the report:

* Brian Brendon Wright (aka 'The Milkman'), head of a UK drugs organisation responsible for importing tens of millions of pounds worth of cocaine in 1990s, was one of the first people to be returned to the UK under a European Arrest Warrant.

* The same trial also saw the first ever use of a grant of Immunity from Prosecution under section 71 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Immunity was given to four American-based conspirators (already serving sentences in the US for other crimes) who testified against Wright - a supplier of cocaine from South America, a money-launderer and drugs transport organiser, the yachtsman who sailed across the Atlantic with hundreds of kilos of cocaine and the yachtswoman who offloaded the cocaine in the UK.

* Money-launderer John Roberts received one of the longest sentences passed to date for money laundering offences totalling £12 million laundered through corrupt Bureaux de Change in Marbella.

* John Knight, an experienced and wealthy arms dealer was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment and a £53,000 confiscation order - the first prosecution under UK legislation brought into force in 2004 and designed to prevent uncontrolled movement of arms between countries outside the UK.

* The Asset Forfeiture Division brought about our first case of returning a national treasure to its country of origin when David Telli, a drug trafficker successfully prosecuted by RCPO was jailed for 22 years with a confiscation order of over £3 million. Part of the order - a stolen 2,000 year old statue of Dionysus was repatriated to Turkey.

The text of the full report is available in pdf format on the RCPO website: http://www.rcpo.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

1. The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office was created by the CRC Act 2005. An independent prosecuting authority, RCPO is superintended by the Attorney General. It is responsible for prosecuting some of the largest drug and fraud cases in the UK. The Director is David Green, QC. For further information see http://www.rcpo.gov.uk