A ringleader of the Hatton Garden heist has been ordered to pay back nearly £6 million or face a further seven years behind bars.
Michael Seed, 58, was the elusive figure known as ‘Basil’ who played an instrumental role in one of the biggest burglaries in British legal history.
The Hatton Garden Safe Deposit vault was raided over the Easter bank holiday weekend by a team of aging criminals , who drilled through the concrete wall to steal at least £13.9 million of valuables.
When the rest of the crew was rounded up and prosecuted, Seed remained at large for three years as his name was not known and he had used a wig and mask to hide his identity during the break-in.
He was finally brought to justice in March last year when a jury convicted him of involvement in the break-in and laundering the profits, leading to him being jailed for ten years.
At Woolwich crown court today, Judge Christopher Kinch QC signed off a confiscation order demanding that Seed pay back £5,997,684 of profits from the raid.
Other members of the gang are subject to a similar confiscation order, meaning any efforts to hand back stolen valuables and pay off the debt will count for all of them.
If Seed fails to pay back the money within the next three months, he will be handed a further seven years in prison.
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Proceeds of Crime, said: “Despite Mr Seed’s protestations of innocence the CPS was able to prove that he was the masked man, and that he and his conspirators took millions of pounds worth of precious stones, gold and jewellery.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bedford, from the Met’s Flying Squad, added that just over a third of the property stolen in the Hatton Garden heist has so far been recovered and returned to the victims.
“We have always said that the end of the trials for those involved did not mark the end of this investigation. Over many years specialist financial investigators have been working hard to locate outstanding property and identify the assets of these defendants.”
Seed was captured on camera walking away from the raid with a bin bag over his shoulder, believed to contain stolen jewels, gold and precious stones as his share of the loot.
When he was finally captured, officers found an array of stolen goods at his one-bedroom Islington flat including a gold ingot worth £4000 and jewellery valued at £143,078.
He had earned the ‘Basil’ tag thanks to recordings of other members of the gang, taking about him using the name as they discussed the raid. Seed had been in charge of disabling the alarm system during the break-in.
Seed followed today’s hearing via videolink from HMP Belmarsh where he is currently being held. Prior to the hearing starting, his barrister Richard Sutton QC joked: “This should be the last court hearing, unless you are thinking of committing any other crimes.”
Seed was found guilty by the jury of conspiracy to commit burglary and Conspiracy to convert or transfer criminal property. He continues to deny involvement in the Hatton Garden raid.