Criminal Finances Bill


The Criminal Finances Bill proposes various amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 which deals with civil recovery. Sundeep Soor, Head of Fraud and Tax at Cartwright King Solicitors outlines what these are in this article.

Cartwright King have successfully acted for numerous businesses and individuals in relation to cash seizure, detention and forfeiture cases. New provisions extend detention and forfeiture beyond cash. Similar provisions proposed will affect monies in bank or building society accounts which would involve these accounts initially being 'frozen' for up to 2 years.

The authority would need to show initially that 'reasonable grounds' exist to show that the monies are suspected to be 'recoverable property' or is suspected to be intended for use in crime. Once the investigation is concluded an application for the forfeiture of the funds would be made and ordered if the court is satisfied that the cash is 'recoverable property' or is intended for use in crime.

The individual or business will be allowed in certain situations to access part of the frozen funds, for example, to meet living expenses or to allow the running of a business. Surprisingly there is proposed provision to allow the funds to be used to meet appropriate legal costs. This is in contrast to criminal Restraint Orders or civil Cash Seizures where release of funds for legal fees is not currently permitted.

As in cash forfeiture matters the proceedings would be held at the Magistrates Court with appeals to the Crown Court or the High Court.

Unexplained wealth orders

New powers are to be given to authorities during the investigation stage to require an individual to set out the nature and extent of their interest in property where the value is greater than £100,000. This would be...

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