"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, May 15, 2008

SOCA - Happy 2nd Birthday

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is celebrating it's second birthday and has produced a 2nd Annual Report. It received from the Home Office, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the Northern Ireland Office and the Scottish Executive totals of nearly £407m in resource funding and about £45m in capital funding and has approximately 4,000 staff in post.(page 7)

Overall the impression is of an organisation absorbed in process rather than practice. The Home Secretary in her Forward says, "The social and economic harms caused by organised crime cost the UK more than £20bn a year " (Which a footnote on Page 11 says "Home Office estimate). This is further explained on Page 18 "The organised crimes that most affect the UK (drugs trafficking, organised immigration crime, fraud and firearms trafficking). Highlighting how the annual figure for serious crime of £20 Bn is hopelessly understated, the level of Carousel fraud (MITC) that has been detected is of the order of £20 Bn annually ...for several years.. see Tuesday, April 04, 2006 SOCA the UK's FBI ?

There is not a single reference in the whole of the report to Carousel fraud - although on Page 34 the rpeort says on the subject "Collaboration with Partners" -joint work with partners to build the success of the Control Strategy -"achieved. Positive engagement by partners
including ACPO, Cabinet Office, Home Office, Scottish Crime & Drugs Enforcement Agency
(SCDEA), Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(F&CO), HMRC, etc., etc., etc.,

On Page 44 we are told that the 4000 staff took delivery of 1,364 courses with a total of 11,232 attendees trained - one may set this against for example the success claimed on Page 6 ..."the issue of 46 warnings to more than 2,500 businesses throughout the UK about crime threats that might affect them, leading, for example in one case to one bank alone reporting an estimated saving of £500,000" or the Government Target or on Page 18 ..."SOCA had this year Government targets for cash forfeiture of (£5m)" . The Times was critical which has led to the SOCA boss Bill Hughes to write a letter published today which reveals that Of the 148 former police officers who have left since SOCA was formed, 46 of them retired,

At Page 46 of the 54 page report we get the information about how effort is allocated ... no mention of carousel fraud.

It would be churlish not to point to successes, but whilst there have been successful seizures of drugs, the street price is low and declining and usage increases. None of the 13 "Mr Bigs" is cooling is heels at Her Majesty's pleasure .

89 tonnes of Class A drugs were seized (0% up on 06/07), 30 tonnes of cannabis plus 60 tonnes of precursor chemicals principally in Colombia and Afghanistan - what they call "upsream operations" .More than 2,000 arrests made in the UK and around the world flowing from SOCA work including under European Arrest Warrant arrangements.

Exotically named operations are listed, curiously anonymous and generalised about "successful" operations but vague on details. Go look but here is one nice one with a fascinating moniker ..

Operation HORNBLOWER, focussed on the criminal activities of an organised crime group involved in both the international facilitation of illegal immigrants into the UK from Afghanistan and Pakistan and the exploitation of migrants once here. Outcomes from intelligence development included the identification of routes from Afghanistan used by the gang, with Greece being identified as the EU entry point. (Wow!)

A series of joint actions overseas resulted in the interdiction of some 128 illegal migrants and the
seizure of a ship. Separately, action within the UK by SOCA, supported by the BIA, resulted in the arrest of two individuals on suspicion of conspiracy to facilitate the entry of illegal immigrants and the seizure of £8,500 cash.

Slim pickings for 4,000 staff and expenditure of nearly half a billion pounds. Funky logo though.

See Daily Mail today Head of British FBI attacks 'Spanish practises of his own 'disgraceful' officers -- luvly jubbly all that overtime sarge

"The report boasts of seizures of more than 89 tonnes of Class A last year - but states only that these seizures "flowed from" SOCA's work, with no details of where in the world they took place, which countries carried out the operations, what SOCA's involvement was or what proportion of the drugs were ever destined for Britain.

Separate Government figures reveal that seizures of cocaine and heroin being smuggled into Britain have plummeted since SOCA took over the fight against drug trafficking two years ago, from a peak of 23 tonnes of cocaine seized in 2003-4 to barely a tenth of that amount last year."


Anonymous said...

Note SOCA's power to 'strike deals with informants and convicted offenders to turn Queen's Evidence'.

The mechanism afforded by turning state's evidence has certainly helped in banging away a lot of hapless 'terrorist' patsies, thereby cranking up the terror quotient.

Anonymous said...

My opinion would be that the elements in the agencies that were incorporated to form SOCA were those elements which actually ran/run the illegal activities such as taking VAT out of the country 'for various official purposes' So no wonder they can't find the Mr Bigs. I don't think a Mr Big has ever been found in a VAT fraud for obvious reasons.

The Underdoug said...

"On Page 44 we are told that the 4000 staff took delivery of 1,364 courses with a total of 11,232 attendees trained..."

these wouldn't be Common Porpoise courses, by any chance?

Serious Organised Crime, eh?

ziz said...

As Janet Paraskeva is one of the 11 members of the Board and is a very, very big noise in the Common Purpose secret society it is highly likely that many of the courses - 3 per staff member per year - are run by CP.

The bureaucratic bullshit that they produce suggests a common intest.

To Take at random Page 44 of the report .
enhancement of the SOCA ICT infrastructure

• achieved. SOCA five year Information Management Strategy initiated, leading this year to:
– implementation of a self service toolbox on the corporate intranet allowing users direct access to a number of services to assist
with case and project work;
– access to the SOCA IT network rolled out to SOCA liaison officers in a number of sites overseas;
– first phase of new corporate Knowledge Management system delivered; and
– Casework Management system developed to enable its wider use across an increased number of concurrent users

Anonymous said...

"Up to 200 Italian police 'ran parallel anti-terror force'"
By John Philips in Rome
Tuesday, 5 July 2005

" Up to 200 police officers and former intelligence operatives are being investigated by Italian magistrates on charges of organising an illegal "parallel" police force to combat terrorism.

The shadowy group appears to have set itself up as a private security firm, offering protection to senior figures, and illicitly using official police resources. Its leaders have been accused of "usurping" public functions and illegal usie of classified data."

Click the link above for more.

So, we have a precedent for someone setting up a parallel police force for their own ends. How would we determine whether or not SOCA was such an organisation? What mechanisms are in place to determine whether or not this is the case; what questions would need to be asked; who would need to ask them; who has the power to ask them? I suppose it's a public law question.

Anyone got any answers? Suggestions?

ziz said...

That is an interesting link. Thank you.One of the links in the article is to a previous piece in which it was pointed out that one of the Board members is General Sir Roger Wheeler , Knight Grand Cross of the Bath , CBE was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, between 1997 and 2000. Sir Roger is the current 'Constable of the Tower of London'. He is also a Non-Executive Director in Aegis Defence Services headed by the controversial soldier of fortune, Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer OBE.

The Chairman is of course Stephen Lander ex MI5/6/7/8/9 etc.,

Both keen members of the Lady Dame Jane Baroness Pauline Neville Jones Fan Club and not unknown in the portals of the RUSI.... one of whose "experts" (Director Professor Michael Clarke) apeared in the trial of alleged 7/7 bombers assistants last week for his deep and profound knowledge of jihadists, Al Quaeda, WWIII and how to make bombs out of marmalade and Marmite.

All with access to funds of £450 Mn a year.

Anonymous said...

That's really interesting. Aegis is an offshoot of Sandline, which was involved in the scandal of supplying arms to Sierra Leone among other things. Its registered address in the Bahamas was at 205 Saffrey Square which is the same address of companies linked to carousel fraud in the late nineties Of course it could be quite unrelated. But then again maybe Aegis, a private security company, is a secret army funded by the taxpayers. Anyhow, it's stuffed full of ex-army people making a killing.

Anonymous said...

Including fatty Soames who's just been banned from driving. Let's hope nobody's threatened him with an accident as he waddles along the streets for the next two months.

Anonymous said...

Re CP Training Course...one to watch.

See also questions asked

y said...

Not Carousel Vat as such, but a question asked on 17 July 2008, involving SOCA & Money laundering:

Eric Pickles (Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Communities and Local Government; Brentwood & Ongar, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment (a) her Department and (b) the Serious Organised Crime Agency has made of the extent of money laundering from social housing sales.

Vernon Coaker (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office; Gedling, Labour)

The Home Office looks to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) to make such assessments. On 6 June 2008, SOCA published its unrestricted version of the UK Threat Assessment of Serious Organised Crime which noted the attraction property has for money launderers. SOCA continues to monitor new and emerging threats to the UK from money laundering, including the abuse of 'right to buy' property.

So it would appear that SOCA is such a parallel force [^Anonymous 2:57 PM] & not purveying the scope of its operations to the Home office.

Now who would be the recipients of money from 'social housing'/'right to buy' sales? It'll be those Registered Social Landlords. These RSLs (described as 'independent housing organisations') came into existence when legislation was passed allowing (the choicest/most lucrative) sections of local government housing departments to be privatised. Some of the RSLs are now acting as private property devlopers & (more interesting reading on RSL scams etc is here (the info is nearly 4 years old so things should have been moved along now please......)

Anonymous said...

Appeal Court hearing notes showing the complexity of Afghanistani heroin importation (via Pakistan) into this country (Note the large occurrences of police "Operation this or that").

Anonymous said...

From these case notes^ it is interesting to note the controlled import of heroin under the various police operations.

See 190 - "The Operation Pastie drugs were imported into the UK by Officer Taylor on 11th June 1993."

Look what the BBC said about Operation Pastie.

annonny said...

Ho Ho Ho,

Soca got in touch with the BBC after the BBC published a (blog) report by Mark Easton on 'The Mystery of the Missing Opium', on 8th October 2008.

SOCA tells the BBC that:

SOCA has a number of undercover operatives in southern Afghanistan.

I bet they do!

Anonymous said...

See this report for details on Police corruption in UK 'at Third World levels'
in Sept 1998!!

Plod knows what it'll be like now!!

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish