31 March 2005

BBC

Agency freezes £200,000 of assets

The Assets Recovery Agency has been given permission to freeze about £200,000 of assets belonging to a County Antrim couple.

The assets, including two houses, over 20 bank accounts and a boat, were held by David Winston Hill and Pauline Hill of Woodland Place in Newtownabbey.

The agency told the High Court in Belfast that Mr Hill is believed to have links with the UDA.

It also contends he received income from unlawful conduct.

Mr Hill was convicted of blackmail in October 2003 and is currently serving a 42 month sentence.

The court heard that it was not alleged that his wife had committed any acquisitive crime, but that she held some of the assets derived from the proceeds of crime.

The agency began its investigation after the case was referred to them by the police in 2004.

Speaking after the judgement, Assets Recovery Agency Assistant Director Alan McQuillan said the seizure was a "very positive development".

"The agency is currently working with the police and customs to target all levels of criminality, including significant criminal figures in local communities," he said.

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