chapter  13
Criminal asset-stripping
Confiscating the proceeds of crime in England and Wales
ByMichael Levi
Pages 15

The 1990s have witnessed increased attention to income from crime and what is done with the money, particularly by the various forms of what is commonly called ‘organised crime’, which still consists principally of the multi-layered activity compressed into the pseudo-homogeneous term ‘drugs trafficking’ (Levi, 1998; 2002a). This development can be observed, first, in the legislation on the confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime and anti-money-laundering legislation in most industrialised countries (Alldridge, 2003; Fisse et al., 1992; Gilmore, 1999; Levi, 1991; Levi and Osofsky, 1995; Meyer et al., 1989; Mitsilegas, Chapter 12, this volume; Stessens, 2000); and, second, in the growth of policing (including customs and excise) involvement in financial investigation. Despite shifts due to the global ‘War on Terrorism’ (and terrorist finance, see Levi and Gilmore, 2002), this is still mainly in the drugs field, though with the targeting of persons rather than simply activities, the precise context in which prosecutions and asset confiscation occur has become flexible. This has implications for differentials in powers and procedures that occur when, for tactical reasons, prosecutions for offences other than drugs arise.1