£8.2million assets frozen by High Court in ARA action

The long-term future of the Assets Recovery Agency may be within the embrace of SOCA, but as the recent National Audit Office report revealed, in Northern Ireland their working relationship with the PSNI is more established, and advanced, than with any other police service. That might, in part, help explain cases like this one – the BBC report that the “High Court in Belfast ruled the agency could freeze 11 bank accounts and take 36 houses belonging to brothers Joseph and Francis McGleenan”, brothers of Damien McGleenan who faced an ARA seizure order in January 2006 for assets worth £400,000. Overall value of the seizure is an estimated £8.2million.

The agency’s deputy director Alan McQuillan said it was “one of the most valuable portfolios of assets” ever frozen in Northern Ireland. “We started with the investigation into one individual and a relatively modest amount of assets,” he said. “But the receiver soon identified a huge range of properties held by his brothers which have also been frozen. “In getting this order today, we had to be able to show to the High Court that we had a good arguable case that these assets were also the proceeds of crime.”

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  • slug

    Excellent.

    There is nothing that does the morale more good than to see criminal assets being frozen!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Exellent work on the part of the ARA. I am reminded that our local politicians are not doing enough to lobby for the retention of the ARA rather than it’s absorption into the SOCA.

    I am also reminded that, certainly last year, the ARA did not seize enough assets to cover it’s costs. They seem to spend a lot of time on PR. It’s something they need to be careful about, making themselves sound like they’re doing more than they really are.

  • JHR

    Innocent till proven guilty!..remember that one.
    McQuillan needed a swan song before he got the boot. He may still get egg on his face with this one!strange timing don’t u agree?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    JHR

    Who says McQuillan is getting the boot? He will probably still be in day to day charge of the new unit, it was more of a name change in NI than anywhere else.

    As to timing these things take many months to work on and as soon as the evidence is there to go to court, then you have to go court very quickly in case the assets dissipate.

    Anyway who cares, every penny they take from criminals of whatever political hue is to be applauded. I, for one, hope they completely smash the paramilitary ‘mafia’ in Northern Ireland and take every last illegal gain they ever made

  • heck

    As I said on this site before I see smuggling as a victimless crime. The way to deal with smuggling (the republican crime) is to get rid of the border-no border- no smuggling. This act of law enforcement is not about protecting citizens, it is about protect a government source of revenue.

    For balance the way to get rid of illegal drug dealing (the loyalist crime) is to legalize their product, restrict it to adults -aka alcohol, and tax the hell out of it -aka tobacco.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Heck: “As I said on this site before I see smuggling as a victimless crime. The way to deal with smuggling (the republican crime) is to get rid of the border-no border- no smuggling.”

    A convenient, if laudable, bit of sophistry there, heck. First of all, the smuggling arises out of tax difference, not that border. If there is any tax difference between agricultural petrol and “ordinary” petrol, there will be tax-evasion and conversion issues — smuggling without the border.

    In the main, it’s a tax issue, not a border issue. So long as there is a differential, there will be some level of criminality.

    heck: “For balance the way to get rid of illegal drug dealing (the loyalist crime) is to legalize their product, restrict it to adults -aka alcohol, and tax the hell out of it -aka tobacco. ”

    And as soon as you “tax the hell out of it” it, you make smuggling a viable criminal enterprise.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The way to deal with smuggling (the republican crime) is to get rid of the border-no border- no smuggling.

    In saying this you only expose your own ignorance.

    – different EU member states pay different levels of tax on cigarettes. It’s nothing to do with the Irish border – cheap cigarettes sold illegally by smugglers would happen whether the border was there or not;

    – agricultural diesel is available which is dyed in order to identify it. The smugglers use chemical processes to remove the dye, and sell the fuel at a hefty discount, thus making their enterprise possible. This would also happen even if the border were present.

    As Dread C says, as long as you have some kind of law which imposes some kind of tax or charge, you will have people who make it their business to sidestep that law for profit. What’s particularly shameful to me is people who call themselves Irish nationalists wrecking the countryside by dumping toxic chemicals into the rivers and in forested areas.