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Criminal money to help fund sport

money seized from a drilling firm which admitted benefiting from corrupt payments is helping give youngsters a sporting boost.

The Scottish Government's Cashback for Communities scheme, which uses cash seized from criminals to fund a range of activities for children and young people, is providing funds for five new synthetic turf rugby and football pitches.

The pitches, which will cost £1.43 million, are being paid for from the first round of funding from a £3.15m cash pot, with more schemes to be announced next year.

Cashback for Communities is contributing £2m to the fund, with the sports body sportscotland putting in £1m, and WREN, a not-for-profit business that awards grants to projects across the UK that are near landfill sites, is contributing £150,000.

The new pitches are being built in Dyce in Aberdeen, Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, Balerno in Edinburgh, Strathaven in South Lanarkshire and Motherwell in North Lanarkshire.

Aberdeen-based Abbot Group paid £5.6m under Proceeds of Crime legislation after it admitted benefiting from corrupt payments made in relation to a contract entered into by one of its overseas subsidiaries and an overseas oil and gas company.

The contract was entered into in 2006 and the payments were made in 2007, with the company reporting the matter to the Crown  Office in July last year under a "self-reporting initiative".

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the funding announcement was a perfect example of how criminal money can be used for good.

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