19 December 2019
The most significant successful application under the 2018 Forfeiture of Assets Law has just been concluded, with more than US$ 10 million paid into Jersey's Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund (COCF).
In August 2018 the Forfeiture of Assets (Civil Proceedings) Law, (the Forfeiture Law), came into force in Jersey. This radical new statute allows the forfeiture of tainted assets held in bank accounts.
If the assets have been subject to a police ‘no consent’ for over twelve months then a fast track procedure, resulting in forfeiture by court order, can be pursued. A number of successful applications have already been made, with the proceeds now held in the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund (COCF), where they will ultimately be used to benefit the people of Jersey.
The application just concluded, which saw more than US$ 10 million paid into the COCF, related to funds held in the Truk Settlement, which were believed to have originated from a Liechtenstein foundation called the Abordo Foundation in the 1980s. The beneficiary of the now defunct Abordo Foundation was a lawyer (now deceased) at the US law firm Miller, Cassidy, Larocca and Lewin, whose client list included high profile individuals who were connected to organised crime.
The funds in the Abordo Foundation were held at UBS Jersey until 2014 when they were settled into the Truk Settlement with Allied Trust Company Limited as trustees and the funds held in Standard Bank. The provenance of the funds could not be properly established so a report was commissioned to identify where the funds in the Truk Settlement derived from. This report identified that the US lawyer, who was made a beneficiary of the Abordo Foundation, had a client relationship with a high ranking member of the Teamsters Union who had been convicted of conspiracy to bribe in the US in the 1980s.
In light of the suspected links of the money to organised crime in the US, the matter was referred from the States of Jersey Police’s Joint Financial Crimes Unit to the Law Officers’ Department’s Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit for further investigation. As a result of that investigation, proceedings began under the Forfeiture Law, as it was suspected that the funds held in the Truk Settlement were tainted property.
It has now been confirmed by the Royal Court that all the assets of the Truk Settlement, namely US$ 16,828,956.98, are to be divided between the COCF and charities. The COCF is to receive 65% of the net balance of the accounts, while the charities will receive the balance.
The Attorney General, Robert MacRae QC, said: “I welcome the successful outcome of this investigation run by the Law Officers’ Department’s Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit, in cooperation with the States of Jersey Police’s Joint Financial Crimes Unit. The Forfeiture Law is a valuable tool allowing the forfeiture of tainted funds in civil proceedings when criminal prosecution is not possible.”