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Former Belfast sex shop owner's estate to be handed over to crimefighters as part of £850k settlement in High Court

By Alan Erwin

Published 15/04/2015

A former Belfast sex shop owner's estate is to be handed over to crimefighters as part of an £850,000 settlement reached in a High Court civil action.

Frank Young's one-time partner, Jane Culbertson, has also agreed to relinquish her assets.

Mr Justice Treacy granted the consent order in a case brought against the pair by the National Crime Agency.

Houses in Portrush, Co Antrim and Coleraine, Co Derry, are to be given over to the authority, along with more than £730,000 held in six bank accounts.

Civil recovery proceedings were issued against the pair shortly after Mr Young died in 2013 at the age of 56.

In its earlier bid to freeze their property the NCA claimed they had derived the majority of their assets through the unlicensed sale of adult retail products, money laundering and tax offences.

According to the Agency Mr Young and Ms Culbertson, 51, were arrested back in 2006 in relation to tax offences.

They were released on bail but then left the jurisdiction and set up home in Malaga, Spain, it was alleged.

Following Mr Young's death HM Revenue and Customs referred the case to the then Serious Organised Crime Agency for civil recovery investigation.

Unlike criminal confiscation cases, the authorities are not dependant on a conviction for bringing a civil claim.

The action focuses on the property rather than the individual, with the court determining whether it is recoverable on the civil standard of proof - the balance of probabilities.

Earlier this year Mr Young's Executor and Ms Culbertson, who still has an address in Malaga, agreed to settle the case by handing over assets valued in excess of £850,000.

Mr Justice Treacy approved the settlement after being informed of the terms in court today.

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