In 2005, the newly formed, United Kingdom (UK) Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) began a financial investigation targeting a Dubai, UAE-based money laundering network after drug investigations determined that the organization was providing illicit financial services to multiple, otherwise unrelated, Drug Trafficking Organizations throughout Europe. This effort evolved into a bilateral joint investigation between the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and SOCA, as well as multilateral, joint investigation among SOCA, the Italian Guardia di Finanza, the Spanish National Police and the Dubai Police Money Laundering Unit.
SOCA officers shared intelligence and evidence regarding the organization with the DEA New York Field Division. That evidence and intelligence was utilized by the DEA and was essential to the preparation of an affidavit for the seizure of 14 commodity futures accounts located at Man Financial Inc. in 2007. Man Financial was a commodities and futures exchange brokerage house in New York. The total value of the seized accounts was over $6.1 million U.S. dollars.
Following the seizure, members of SOCA assisted DEA New York in developing evidence and responding to legal challenges by defense counsel in the United States to the government’s forfeiture case.
The assistance of the United Kingdom’s SOCA officers was of critical importance and an essential element in prosecuting this case. The operation was a success, and could not have been possible without the cooperation of the SOCA, which was transformed last year into the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced the sharing of forfeited proceeds with the United Kingdom in connection with the above described seizures, which have completed the forfeiture process. As a result, the Department of Justice, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, approved the sharing of $907,503.70 to the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and the proceeds were wire-transferred in September 2014. This amount totaled approximately £564,013 at time of transfer.