In a series of articles posted to this website, consideration has been given to various aspects of Confiscation Orders made by courts under the Proceeds Of Crime Act 2002 (‘POCA’).
In this article, Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors explains the nature of ‘Hidden Assets’,
the existence, or otherwise, of which was recently considered by the Court of Appeal in the case of R v Blackledge  EWCA Crim 1108.
Kangs Solicitors enjoys national recognition for its expertise in advising clients in relation to all aspects of POCA proceedings including challenging the Prosecution in respect of allegations of the existence of hidden assets.
For an initial no obligation consultation, please telephone our team of lawyers at any of our offices detailed below:
What are Hidden Assets? | Kangs Confiscation Solicitors
- During the course of POCA proceedings, the Crown investigates in great detail, inter alia, the assets available to the defendant, who is the subject of such Order, in order to clarify how the debt set out in the Order is going to be repaid.
- It frequently arises that the Prosecution will allege that the defendant has the benefit of ‘hidden assets’ being those which have not been declared, whether deliberately or accidentally, those which have been deliberately disguised to avoid detection or, occasionally, those which may not have been understood as representing assets of the defendant, such as gift that had been forgotten about.
- The most straightforward scenario arises where assets are known to have existed but remain unaccounted for such as stolen money, the proceeds of dishonest trading or identified money laundering of the proceeds of crime, which frequently will have been transferred abroad.
- Less easy to identify is the situation where it is clear to the Prosecution that, for example, the defendant must have access to hidden funds where there is no transparent evidence of income etc. to satisfy the lifestyle enjoyed by the defendant or any particular financial expenditure.
Recent Court of Appeal Decision | Kangs Confiscation Law Solicitors
The recent case of R v Blackledge  EWCA Crim 1108 was concernedwith identifying whether or not the defendant enjoyed the benefit of hidden assets.
In that case:
- the Prosecution maintained that the realisable assets were approximately £15,500.00, £13,177.59 of which amount represented the value of alleged hidden assets.
- This hidden assets figure represented the difference in balances within the appellant’s bank accounts and the Prosecution asserted that this amount represented concealed assets.
- The defendant maintained he did not have the alleged available amount but only just over £2000.00, which remained in his bank account.
- He also maintained that his money was withdrawn in cash, partially used for gambling, partially used to pay for living expenses and then some of it was re-deposited into his bank account.
- A Forensic Accountant’s Report was obtained which supported the Defendant’s explanation of his finances.
- Accordingly, the Court quashed the original Confiscation Order and the new Order reflected the correct figure as maintained by the defendant.
How Can We Help? | Kangs National POCA Solicitors
It will be seen from the Court of Appeal decision reported above that it is essential that, when presented with a Confiscation Order scheduling alleged debt, it is essential that the Prosecution’s calculations should be meticulously examined and challenged where appropriate.
If you are subject to a Confiscation Order and are concerned as to the financial calculations it contains or that you may not be able to meet your obligations as the result of the value of your assets being inadequate, please feel free to contact the team at Kangs Solicitors which has a wealth of experience in all aspects of POCA proceedings.
We are here to assist and happy to provide an initial no obligation consultation at our offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester or by telephone/video conferencing.