Under the Serious Crime Bill published on January 17, the UK Government will merge the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) with the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). SOCA was set up last year with a view to becoming the UK’s equivalent to the FBI. The ARA, which aimed to reclaim ill-gotten gains from criminals, is to be merged with SOCA after disappointing recoveries over four years. This merger is likely to happen in April 2008.

The power to launch civil recovery proceedings will also be extended to England & Wales’ three main prosecutors: the Crown Prosecution Service, the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office, and the Serious Fraud Office.