New laws will crack down on gang profits and criminal assets
New legislation passed by the Government today will make it harder for gangs and their leaders to benefit financially from crime that causes considerable harm in our communities, Minister of Justice Kiri Allan says.
Since the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 came into effect police have been highly successful in freezing criminal assets, at times restraining nearly four times the global average annually.
“The passing of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Amendment Bill in Parliament today will see this Act strengthened even further,” Kiri Allan said.
“Police has had considerable success under the CPRA regime. As a result organised criminals are now structuring their affairs to avoid their illegally obtained assets being seized, by putting the property in the names of their associates.”
Under the new provisions, if it’s shown that an associate of an organised criminal group couldn’t have funded their assets legitimately, they will be required to prove to the court how they came to possess them, or face having them frozen.
“We’re going after gang leaders and the facilitators of organised crime and hitting them where it hurts – their pockets – by taking their properties, cars, bikes and bling.
“We’re focusing on effective solutions, not empty slogans and policies. We’re building upon what we know works and are continuing to back police in their effective work in seizing criminal assets.”
The proposed amendments are estimated to return an additional $25 million annually into the Proceeds of Crime Fund. The fund is used to invest in programmes that target organised criminal activity, and address crime-related harm, including the drivers of crime.
“We’ll continue to focus on steering the most vulnerable people – teenagers and young people – away from a life with gangs. We know that early intervention, rehabilitation, and reintegration is the best way of reducing the harm caused by gangs,” Kiri Allan said.