November 30, 2020

UK police given £8.5m to probe overseas corruption

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_65652821_5rp0v313Specialist British police units working to combat overseas corruption will receive government funding until March 2016, the international development secretary has announced.

Justine Greening said parts of the Met and City of London Police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) will be given about £8.5m between them.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will also receive nearly £399,000.

Ms Greening said the funding will help “step up” efforts to combat corruption.

The teams investigate crimes such as bribery and money laundering by foreign or British criminals in developing countries in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia and the Caribbean.

The CPS will form a new taskforce of British legal and investigative experts, to help recover stolen assets across the Middle East.

The inquiries are separate from efforts to ensure UK aid is not lost to corruption, which is managed by a counter fraud unit within the Department for International Development (Dfid).

The money will be split between three police forces and the CPS.

Metropolitan Police proceeds of corruption unit: £3.4m

City of London Police overseas anti-corruption unit: £3.8m

SOCA’s international intelligence cell: £854,000

CPS asset recovery unit: £399,000

In a statement, Ms Greening said: “When corruption happens in developing countries, it is the very poorest people in our world who foot the bill.

“Corruption is a deadweight which is holding countries and their people back.

“The UK government will not only work in countries to prevent public funds from being siphoned off or stolen – we will step up our efforts to combat corruption that uses our shores as a host.”

Since UK aid funding started, investigations by the Met’s proceeds of corruption unit into allegations of corrupt foreign politicians or officials laundering money through the UK, have resulted in eight successful prosecutions and over £100m has been recovered or seized.

The City of London overseas anti-corruption unit, which probes claims against UK citizens and companies involved in overseas corruption and bribery, has charged 27 people and one company and successfully prosecuted 13 individuals.

Det Ch Supt Oliver Shaw, the head of economic crime at the City of London Police, said the additional funding would help them “investigate and prosecute some of the most complex and significant cases of overseas bribery and corruption”.

He added: “[We are] combating criminality originating from UK entities that transcends national boundaries and international borders and damages the distribution and application of development aid to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.”

SOCA will use the funding to develop better intelligence for investigations.

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