Supreme Court orders proceeds of crime forfeiture
The Supreme Court has ordered that more than €18,000 seized from two local men at the border be forfeited having found that the cash derived from criminal conduct.
The forfeiture order was granted by Puisne Judge Karen Karen Ramagge Prescott on Monday following an application made by officers of the Royal Gibraltar Police’s Money Laundering Investigation Unit under Proceeds of Crime legislation.
The case dates back to December 2016, when two local men, now aged 26 and 21 years of age, were stopped by HM Customs officers as they entered Gibraltar via the land frontier.
On being searched they were found with €9,070 and €9,000.
Unsatisfied with the accounts provided by the two individuals, officers of the RGP’s Money Laundering Investigation Unit were contacted.
Initial enquiries carried out by officers, qualified and accredited as Financial Investigators through the National Crime Agency, led them to suspect that the monies might be the proceeds of crime and therefore recoverable property under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The monies were seized and a proceeds of crime investigation initiated.
The matter was heard in absentia by Mrs Justice Ramagge Prescott in civil proceedings as the respondents, who were not compelled to be present, failed to turn up for the hearing.
After hearing evidence provided by the officers regarding the nature of the enquiries carried out during the course of their investigation and their findings, the judge ruled that the monies, which until now had been kept in an interest bearing account by the Treasury Department, were derived from Criminal Conduct and ordered the forfeiture of the monies.
According to the RGP, the case exemplifies the efforts being made by local law enforcement agencies, not just in the prevention and detection of crime, but also in ensuring that individuals are unable to continue enjoying the proceeds derived from Criminal Conduct.