SOCA, National Crime Agency and the FBI?

 In inTAX

SOCA, the National Crime Agency and the FBI?

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has changed. It is now called the National Crime Agency (NCA), but whether this is purely a name change or a true reorganisation remains to be seen. The cynics believe it is just a name change brought about to disguise SOCA’s apparently poor record in performing some of its functions. For example, SOCA is said to have spent £15 for every £1 recovered – hardly an economic success.

Previously, the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA), a separate department formed to recover the proceeds of crime, was merged with SOCA. This happened in April 2008, with noises at the time that this was the establishment of the UK’s version of the much revered FBI.

The same noises are being heard again, and although the NCA seems uncomfortable with this image, it yesterday launched pictures of its uniform which include jackets clearly identifying who they are – much like those seen on TV when the FBI carries out a high profile raid.

SOCA and NCA

The whole point of SOCA/NCA merger is to allow and encourage co-operation between its many and wide-ranging specialists, ensuring an effective crime fighting force without duplications and to avoid accusations of ‘the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing’.

But what does the NCA do? It is billed as fighting all sorts of crime including (but not limited to) drug trafficking, cyber-crime, fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud. It is also responsible for confiscating assets from convicted criminals, or recovering assets under a civil regime where the suspected criminals have not been convicted.

The partners at inTAX are experienced in dealing with matters being investigated by SOCA or the NCA, particularly the cases that are referred for tax proceedings. These are often cases that have the ‘Al Capone’ element – the authorities think that a crime has been committed but are unable to prove it; attempts to recover funds using the civil recovery regime have failed; so a tax investigation is the last remaining option.

If you or someone you know has a problem with SOCA or the NCA, then specialist advice should be obtained as a matter of urgency. It is all too easy to find your assets have been frozen without warning and discover that the Agencies are resorting to unexpected or unconventional methods to carry out their functions. If you have a tax or confiscation problem, contact the partners at inTAX for advice. Depending on the severity of the matter we can help and in appropriate circumstances can also recommend the services of lawyers experienced in this field.

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