Lords amendment: No. 6, in page 3, leave out lines 14 to 16 and insert
the values of the payments or other rewards
Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 8, 14, 19, 20, 22, 25, 27 to 37, 39, 45, 49, 52, 55 to 57, 59, 60, 63, 66 to 72, 77, 79, 84, 86, 87, 96 and 143.
§ Mr. Mellor
When earlier considered by the House the Bill provided for a confiscation order to be satisfied from property available in respect of the defendant. That included property transferred to third parties for significantly less than full value, provided that the transfer had taken place during the previous six years or the property could be shown to represent the proceeds of drug trafficking. Where the third party has subsequently transformed that property into something else, however, we want to ensure that the courts will be able to order the confiscation of the substitute property or assets of equivalent value; that is why the change has been made and I think that it is substantial.
The second major change in the amendments is to meet a point raised by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), who was anxious that increases in value should be fully reflected in the confiscation order. We now provide that in assessing the value of any payment, reward or gift, the court will be able to take either its value at the time of receipt, adjusted for inflation, or, where the person concerned still holds the property or assets directly or indirectly acquired with it, its current value, whichever is the greater. That meets the hon. Gentleman's point.
§ Mr. Corbett
I thank the Minister for responding to the points that we raised in earlier debates. Perhaps I can put it more colloquially. I have been heard to state that, when we catch and convict drug traffickers and then go into the business of trying to get hold of their assets, I want to strip them down to their underpants. If they then try to transfer their underpants to a third party, I want those as well.
§ Questions put and agreed to.
§ Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.