In October 2017 we reported upon certain aspects of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (‘the Act’).

Further provisions of the Act came into force on January 31st 2018 dealing with Unexplained Wealth Orders (‘UWO’s) upon which John Veale of Kangs Solicitors now comments.

The Purpose Of A UWO | Kangs Financial Fraud Solicitors

Anyone under suspicion can now be required to prove how they acquired property where  it appears that owning such an asset would appear to be beyond their financial means.

This reverses the burden of proof applicable in Confiscation Proceedings brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

Additionally, where POCA proceedings may be thwarted due to difficulties in obtaining the relevant supportive evidence a UWO can be obtained even where there is no substantial evidence that the property in question is connected to any crime.

A UWO may be accompanied by an Interim Freezing Order prohibiting the person subject to the UWO, and any other person with an interest in the property in question, from disposing of it or dealing with it in any way.

In 2017 properties in London worth £4.2 billion were identified as having been acquired with suspicious wealth.

The authorities to which such orders are available are:

  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • The National Crime Agency
  • The Director of the Serious Fraud Office
  • The Financial Conduct Authority
  • The Director of Public Prosecutions

What The Authorities Must Show | Kangs Financial Restraint Defence Team

The High Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to show that the person against whom a UWO is required:           

  • holds the property, which must be worth more than £50,000
  • has insufficient known income to acquire the property
  • or a member of their family or close associate, is a politically exposed person (someone who is or has in the past been entrusted with a high profile public function by a state/international organisation, other than the UK/another EEA state) or
  • have been involved in a serious crime or, someone connected to them, is or has been involved in serious crime.

How To Oppose A UWO | Kangs Financial Fraud Investigation Team

If subjected to a UWO it is necessary to provide a comprehensive Statement that detail:

  • the nature and extent of the interest claimed in the property
  • how the property was obtained and paid for
  • any form of trust in which the property is held
  • such other information required by the UWO
  • documents as required by the UWO.

Criminal Offence | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors

It is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly make a statement that is false or misleading in response to a UWO.

A conviction can result in a two year prison sentence and/or a fine.

How Can We Help You? | Kangs Financial Restraint Defence Solicitors

At Kangs Solicitors we have the expertise to deal with all matters arising from financial restraint proceedings of all types.

Our team is led by Hamraj Kang who is recognised as a leading expert in the field. He is one of only two solicitors nationally to be ranked as a ‘star individual’ for three consecutive years in the legal directory Chambers & Partners.

Other members of the team are ranked in the Legal 500 and also ranked in Chambers & Partners.

Should you require assistance please do not hesitate to contact: 

Hamraj Kang
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

John Veale
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521 210

Tim Thompson
020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210