Recently I have been bathing in Schadenfreude. No, this is not the natural successor to Badedas, or a spa town in Bavaria: from the German for “damage joy”, it is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. I’m not a particularly vindictive person – except when it comes to filthy dirty money launderers. (And Conrad Black, but that’s probably unreasonable. Maybe.) The source of my Schadenfreude at the moment is the marvellous success that the Serious Organised Crime Agency and others are having in demanding that criminals repay their proceeds of crime, and then throwing them into jail when they don’t.
For instance, on 27 April 2012, brothel-keeper Thomas Carroll was sentenced to another ten years in prison for failing to repay £1.9 million. Even more wonderfully, he will continue to owe the outstanding amount, with an additional £416 per day accruing in interest – mwah-ha-ha-ha! In a sort-of-related story (if you follow my drift) and indeed on the same day, a man who made £14.4 million from selling fake Viagra was ordered to pay that back within six months or face another decade inside – and still owe the money. Such actions, taken in tandem with the Serious Crime Prevention Order and other orders (which I have lauded before), ensure that ongoing efforts to confiscate their assets will be a thorn in the side of criminals – which is exactly how we like it.