Thursday, January 11, 2007
Assets Recovery Agency
Bush's new Iraq troop deployments furnish an excellent day to bury the Assets Recovery Agency.
The ARA was only set up in 2002, "to disrupt organised criminal enterprises through the recovery of criminal assets."
When it was set up, the Blessed Leader vowed it was going to hit big time crooks hard - "where it most hurts in their pockets".
Well, he was half right: it certainly hurt people in their pockets. Unfortunately, it wasn't the big time crooks.
For taxpayers, it has been yet another wildly expensive headline grabbing dud. It cost us £60m to establish, and £15m pa to run. It employs nearly 200 people and produces immensely glossy 97 page annual reports (see here). Yet it has only actually recovered £8m. That's even worse than the dire Child Support Agency.
The new plan is to combine ARA with SOCA- the Serious Organised Crimes Agency. Regular readers of BOM will recall they're Tone's new FBI wannabes whose only discernable action so far has been to spend £164,000 on a ludicrous Thundercats-style logo. So don't hold your breath.
But all may not be lost. According to the Major, for just £10m pa and a slice of the "equity", his friend Mr Gomulka is prepared to offer taxpayers a real assets recovery service.
Apparently Mr G and his associates have developed a range of highly sophisticated techniques for effective asset extraction. They can even be deployed in those tricky cases where crooks have successfully blocked the ARA using European Human Rights legislation. The Major tells me Gomulka's people have devised some kind of proprietary "work-around".
Bring him on I say.
Posted by Mike D at 12:45 pm