Criminals hand over just £74,000 out of £1.6 million dirty money

Organised criminals behind Scotland’s record drugs deaths are flouting proceeds of crime laws and keeping their dirty money, Scottish Conservative research has revealed. 


Analysis of Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service reports shows that criminals were ordered to hand over almost £1.6million of criminal proceeds in the first three months of 2021 - but they in fact paid just £74,000. 


Scottish Conservative Shadow Community Safety Minister Russell Findlay described the figures as a “scandalous betrayal of every drug-scarred community across Scotland” and evidence that “crime now pays” under the SNP. 


The total value for the first quarter of 2021/22 was £1,579,000. Yet only £74,000 of that has been paid, according to Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service data. 


Confiscation orders are supposed to recover dirty profits from drug dealing, people trafficking, cybercrime and other lucrative criminality. 


Scottish Conservative Shadow Community Safety Minister Russell Findlay said: “Under the SNP, crime now pays and wealthy crooks clearly have nothing to fear from proceeds of crime laws. 


“These figures represent a scandalous betrayal of every drug-scarred community across Scotland. 


“When proceeds of crime laws were introduced at the turn of the millennium, we were told they’d bankrupts those at the pinnacle of organise crime. They have failed. 


“If the SNP government was genuinely serious about tackling these gangs, they would give our police, prosecutors and courts the resources they need to do their jobs.” 




Confiscation orders are given to criminals for them to pay back the money they have accrued from their criminal activity. The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service state: ‘When an individual is convicted of a crime where they have benefited financially from their illegal actions, this is classed as Proceeds of Crime and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service can apply to the Court for a Confiscation Order which details how much must be repaid.’ (SCTS, Quarterly fines report 50, 22 November 2021, link). 


For confiscation orders issued in the first quarter of this year, 95% of them are in arrears. The total value of confiscation orders imposed in Q1 of 2021-22 was £1,579,000. However, £1,505,000 worth of those orders are unpaid and in arrears. This means that 95% of confiscation orders from this period remain unpaid. (SCTS, Quarterly fines report 50, 22 November 2021, Data Tables, link). 


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