Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors discusses the subject of money laundering and in particular, criminal property.
Money laundering is defined as an act which constitutes an offence under S.327, 328 and 329 or a conspiracy or attempt to commit such an offence. Money laundering includes counselling, aiding or abetting or procuring.
There were separate offences for drug money laundering under the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 and non-drug offences under the Criminal Justice Act 1988. There was a change when the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 came into force.
Criminal Property | Money Laundering Solicitors
Under POCA, the Prosecution has to prove that the laundered proceeds are ‘criminal property’, as defined in S.340 of POCA: that is to say that the property constitutes a person’s benefit from criminal conduct.
Criminal Conduct | Solicitors Defending Fraud Cases
‘Criminal conduct’ is all conduct which constitutes an offence in any part of the United Kingdom (which means that an “all crimes” approach is adopted in respect of predicate crimes committed in the UK).
Those offences committed abroad can also be construed as a relevant crime, if laundering acts are committed within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom where the initial predicate offence committed abroad (from which proceeds were generated) would also constitute an offence in any part of the United Kingdom if the same occurred here.
It is does not matter whether the criminal conduct occurred prior to the Act becoming law, provided, the laundering act takes place post commencement.
Proving ‘Criminal Property’ | Confiscation Law Solicitors
To prove that property is ‘criminal property’ (i.e. the proceeds of crime) the Prosecution must be able to show the property:
- Constitutes benefit from criminal conduct or that it represents such a benefit (in whole or part and whether directly or indirectly) and
- The alleged offender knows or suspects that it constitutes or represents such a benefit [section 340(3)].
The property which may comprise the benefit from criminal conduct is widely defined and includes the following:
- All forms of property or real estate
- Things in action and other intangible or incorporeal property.
Property is obtained by a person if he obtains an interest in it.
Because of the definition of criminal property, there is no distinction between the proceeds of the defendant’s own crimes and of crimes committed by others.
Therefore, laundering one’s own proceeds is just as much money laundering, as similar activities performed by someone else, notably professional launderers, on behalf of the authors of the predicate or underlying offences.
A Recent Case | Kangs Solicitors | POCA Solicitors
R -v- W
Our client faced money laundering proceedings by virtue of POCA before Warwick Crown Court.
The Prosecution alleged that our client had in his possession a substantial amount of cash which represented criminal property.
A thorough financial examination was undertaken on behalf of our client and witnesses were approached who supported our client’s explanation that the substantial amount of cash recovered originated from legitimate sources.
On the first day of trial, the Prosecution offered no evidence, resulting in a Not Guilty verdict.
Our client was delighted with the result which had been achieved.
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