The special joy of damage joy

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I remember the first time I was told what schadenfreude means – pleasure derived from another’s misfortune.  I quickly realised what an essential component of life it is, and thought how odd it is that only the Germans have seen the need to coin a special term for it.  (Apparently it means literally “damage joy”, which just about does it.)  As an AML obsessive, schadenfreude is sadly all too rare – too often, the baddies triumph – but one reliable source for a regular top-up of this emotion is the National Crime Agency’s list of ancillary orders.

Ancillary orders are given alongside other sentencing options, and provide necessary support to those sentences – perhaps by redressing harm caused, or by preventing repeat offending or victimisation.  Here in the UK we have a pleasing array of ancillary orders, including compensation orders, driving disqualification orders, football banning orders and restraining orders.  But my very favourites are the ones designed to make life a right pain in the proverbial for financial criminals.  Yes, let us all give thanks for the financial reporting order (FRO), the travel restriction order (TRO) and the serious crime prevention order (SCPO – although wasn’t he that little gold fellow in the “Star Wars” movies?).

FROs, TROs and SCPOs are all administered and monitored by the NCA’s Lifetime Management team, and these marvellous people produce and regularly update a list (linked to from their web-page) of all the scoundrels whose freedom is currently being curtailed by an ancillary order.  It gladdens your little heart to read it, especially when you see a whole family not enjoying the fruits of their criminal labour.  At the moment, for instance, the Fitzgibbons of Manchester – I’m guessing it’s mum Christine and sons Ian and Jason – are living with a full set of FROs, TROs and SCPOs, requiring them to report all their financial transactions, accounts and assets, report if they move house, and hand in their passports.  They can be pleasingly specific, these orders: money launderer Yongheng Jin, for instance, is prohibited from possessing cash, coins or cash-counting machines, while money launderer Roger Budgen is forbidden to use telephone kiosks and internet cafés.  It’s not a long list, it’s fun to read, and it would be a handy check to make against your client list, just in case…