The U.K.'s Department for International Development this week announced that it's stepping up its efforts to investigate cases of international corruption affecting developing countries through a new specialist unit launched by International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

The new International Corruption Unit (ICU) brings together existing investigation and intelligence units funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) from the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and National Crime Agency. The multi-agency team will be operated by the National Crime Agency and be the central point for investigating international corruption in the U.K..

"Through the international corruption unit, the best of British law enforcement will step up our aid work combatting corruption head on across the developing world," Greening said.

Jon Benton, joint head of the ICU, said, "The message to individuals and companies who see developing countries as fair game is that the U.K. has zero tolerance for overseas bribery and corruption."

Since 2006, DFID-police units in the U.K. have investigated more than 150 cases of overseas bribery and recovered £200 million of stolen assets, as well as successfully prosecuting 27 individuals and one company, according to the DFID, which will provide £21 million to the ICU until 2020.

The DFID said the combined intelligence and investigation approach is expected to deliver a "significant increase in money laundering and overseas bribery cases; a greater focus on preventive action; and a more strategic approach to identifying and tackling corruption in DFID priority countries."