Crime boss Terry Adams has said he cannot afford to pay £750,000 his wife squandered thousands on jewels and flights, a court was told.
Since being released, Adams, from one of Britain's most notorious crime families, has paid just £360,000, the Court of Appeal heard on Thursday.
He is now seeking permission to apply to a crown court for a reduction in the confiscation order made against him, claiming he cannot afford it.
Adams' lawyers claim the gangster can never work for long because police then interview his employers.
An earlier application was rejected in August 2014, when more than £650,000 was still outstanding.
At the time, prosecutors successfully argued he could not show he had less than £650,000, and claimed he had hidden assets.
The judge, Mrs Justice Davies, had noted Adams and his wife Ruth still led an "expensive" lifestyle, which was inconsistent with a claim of having no assets.
Kennedy Talbot QC, prosecuting, said that the couple spent nearly £15,000 on hotels, flights, restaurants and entertainment from August 2009 to September 2013.
But in court today Adams's defence team argued this was spent by Mrs Adams, and her husband was in jail for most of that period.
Ivan Krolick, representing Adams, said: "Those were expenditures by Mrs Adams on herself.
"I am not suggesting in any such way he did not benefit from the expenditure. What I am putting forward, is it is not right to say this was luxurious living by Mr Adams.
"If it was luxurious, it was by Mrs Adams with her own money."
The family home had been bugged by prosecutors to make secret recordings over a number of years to use as evidence during the money laundering trial, the court heard.
The recordings, which cost £2.7million to transcribe, meant Mr Adams's financial position was well known, his lawyer argued.
Mr Krolick said: "It does seem clear, and it appears to be accepted by the prosecution, that the £750,000 comprised first of all Mr Adams's interest in his family home, which he owned jointly with his wife in equal shares.
"But in addition there was a quantity of items of jewellery and some antiques and items of some value.
"It's not as if Mr Adams's financial position was unknown to the prosecution.
"We submit that by the time the agreement was made as to the £750,000, the prosecution were in no doubt that was then the value of his assets."
After Adams was jailed, he was required to submit monthly financial reports, which his solicitors completed, the court was told.
Meanwhile, the value of the house fell due to the financial situation in the UK, Mr Krolick said.
He also argued prosecutors failed to distinguish between Terry Adams and his wife Ruth, when it came to their finances.
Referring to the first refusal for permission to reduce the confiscation sum in 2014, Mr Krolick said: "The application was resisted by the Crown. And on the grounds, Mr Adams had a hidden source or reserve of money. And he denied that.
"The matter came before the learned judge, and she found he did so. It is my position she was wrong.
"The Crown Prosecution said, in all their evidence, they have never sought to distinguish the position between Mr Adams from his wife.
"There was no evidence whatsoever of expenditure by Mr Adams.
He added: "There is no suggestion that Mr Adams has continued in any form a criminal career.
"Since leaving prison in July of 2012, Mr Adams has been, to some extent, dependent upon his wife."
Adams had since carried out some casual work, including designing jewellery and men's clothing, the court heard.
But Adams had complained that he was unable to work for long - because every time the police found out, they "went to interview the people who tried to employ him", the court heard.
Turning to any allegations of luxury lifestyles, the lawyer said: "Every transaction relied upon by the Crown Prosecution Service was carried out by Mrs Adams
"There is no allegation, no evidence or allegation of any transaction by Mr Adams, which could be considered to be an excessive lifestyle indeed, or any kind of expenditure."
The hearing continues.