A UK court trying to recover some of the money swindled by British fraudster Mark Acklom has heard that he’s living in Spain with his family.

A barrister representing the 50-year-old conman at a Proceeds of Crime Act(Poca) hearing at Bristol Magistrates Court confirmed that he had been reunited with his wife Yolanda Ros and their two children.

He also said that his client was not actively taking part in proceedings.

“Although Mr Acklom is not observing he is available on the phone to provide instructions. He is just not watching,” Martin Sharpe said.

Acklom was extradited to Spain over three years ago after being freed from a UK prison after serving part of a six-year sentence imposed in 2019.

He served a further two years behind bars at a Murcia region prison and was released last summer.

It was widely believed that Acklom would remain in the country because of his family ties, but there was no confirmation at the time.

MARK ACKLOM

UK authorities have gone down the Poca route to try to recover £321,000 taken in a love scam from his then girlfriend Carolyn Woods going back to 2012.

Over the last four years there have been a series of hearings at Bristol under Poca legislation to establish Acklom’s criminal benefit and available assets.

Acklom’s barrister Martin Sharpe told the court on Monday that he was subject to a Spanish confiscation order of €374,000 but did not know whether he had paid it.

The court heard this could potentially reduce the amount of money Acklom has available to meet his financial liabilities in the UK.

A two-day hearing is taking place in Bristol for Acklom’s legal team to argue over whether there had been an abuse of process in the Poca hearings due to certain documents not being handed over to the defence.

“There has not been full and fair disclosure and that has not enabled us to bottom out issues we need to oppose this application for confiscation,” Mr Sharpe told the court.

John Hardy KC, representing the Crown, said in response: “While we don’t object in any way to him making this application, we say it falls at the first hurdle because it has already been pre-determined.”

The Poca challenge is being heard by Judge Martin Picton, who originally sentenced Acklom over the Carolyn Woods fraud and told him at the time that he had acted in a ‘ruthless and utterly selfish manner’.

Judge Picton said the hearings have ‘gone on for a bit now, to put it mildly’, and said that, so far, he has not ‘heard a word from Mr Acklom’.

He added: “It leaves me utterly bemused that we spend a lot of time, here today, tomorrow and another four days later establishing a [monetary] figure that has beyond even an outside chance of ever being recovered from a person living outside the jurisdiction.”

The hearing was adjourned for the day after the judge suggested lawyers from the two sides could discuss a possible agreement before coming back to court on Tuesday.

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