PROCEEDS OF CRIME
The draconian powers which allowed prosecuting authorities to seize assets came in to force with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which marked a renewed determination by the Government to confiscate the assets of those the authorities suspect to be guilty of criminal wrongdoing. It is no longer a requirement for somebody to be convicted of a qualifying offence before such legislation can begin to bite.
We never just accept the Prosecution’s view of the benefit of crime and ensure their figures are meticulously challenged. We often instruct specialist forensic accountants to assist with this to counter problems such as ‘double counting’ of assets.
We are always conscious that the higher this figure is, then the higher a possible term of imprisonment could be if there is a non-payment following a confiscation order. Our clients’ liberty is paramount.
Money laundering dates back to when this activity was first criminalised in relation to the proceeds of drug trafficking (under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986).
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has updated and reformed many of these money laundering provisions. We are often asked to advise individuals and third parties who are effected by Restraint Orders granted by a court before any charges are laid.
We will put together a specialist team tailor made to the requirements of your case, which can include forensic accountants, IT specialists, and Tax specialists. In the most serious cases this may include the country’s leading QC’s and we guarantee you access to the most up-to-date and relevant expertise.
This can make a big difference both in attacking what the Crown claim to be the ‘criminal lifestyle benefit’ figure and in reducing the ‘available amount’ figure.
Our team has a wealth of experience in defending complex and large scale investigations of serious business, financial crime and proceeds of crime.
These will normally include investigations by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, Serious Fraud Office, Financial Services Authority, as well as the Police and other bodies.
We will use the most advanced and sophisticated techniques to identify the key issues for you in a clear and relevant way as well as to highlight the weaknesses and inconsistencies in the Crown’s Proceeds of Crime case.
We have been involved in some of the highest profile cases across the UK in recent years. We have the fire power to deliver and regularly outpace rivals in the criminal field and our leading criminal defence lawyers possess a unique reputation for individual treatment of your case which can be lost in bigger firms.
Whether you are the subject of a Restraint Order, facing confiscation proceedings following a criminal conviction, cash forfeiture proceedings, or investigation for tax evasion, we can make a difference to the final outcome.
We will represent you from the moment you believe you are in trouble and you should not wait to be arrested. Proceeds of Crime is normally connected to criminal trials although in certain cases we are successful in convincing the Crown not to prosecute the client but to deal with the matter on the basis of civil proceedings.
Such cases can also mean having to consider issues arising in foreign jurisdictions including clients who wish to return to this country without being extradited, we are experienced in such matters.
We are members of the UK Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association established in 2008 to foster and encourage the exchange of information, education and training, in all matters relating to the practice of law involving the proceeds of criminal conduct.
You can be assured that we are part of an ever increasing network of professionals involved at the heart of a rapidly developing area of the law both in the UK and abroad.
PROCEEDS OF CRIME. WHAT CAN HAPPEN?
Confiscation is pursued by the Crown following a criminal conviction where there has been ‘financial gain’ or an alleged ‘benefit from criminal conduct’.
The prosecution is able to go back a period of six years following conviction – and will serve on the accused what is known as the ‘red book’. The state now has enormous power to restrain, confiscate and forfeit assets owned by businesses and individuals. Mere possession of large cash sum creates a presumption that a crime has been committed.
The right to silence means virtually nothing in such a context. For so-called “lifestyle” offences there is a presumption that all of a person’s assets and income are the proceeds of crime and subject to mandatory confiscation. This may include a finding of “hidden assets” which hikes the figure up way beyond real available resource.
PROCEEDS OF CRIME. A WAR OF ATTRITION.
Fighting confiscation is a war of attrition, but there is much to be gained by taking a realistic view of which assets can be defended. Better off defendants who receive the right advice should avoid losing all they have built through a lifetime.
The important factor is the source of the money although intended use can also be a factor. If a person can show that the source of the funds is legitimate the money will generally be returned. Therefore for a successful resolution of your matter it is essential that all expertise including legal and financial is used.
As part of our team we instruct our own Forensic, Tax and Proceeds of Crime Specialist. His specialisms include the following:- Code 9 Investigations, VAT, Excise & Customs Duty Investigations, HMRC Prosecutions, Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime/Confiscation Cases and Proceedings before the First Tier (Tax) Tribunal.
Our specialist’s career was spent mainly with the National Investigation Service of HM Customs & Excise (now HM Revenue & Customs), where he spent 13 years, before leaving to join corporate accountants, where he spent 8 years specialising in providing fraud and tax investigation services, together with the relevant accounting experience, to private clients, corporates and the legal profession. His forensic experience in proceeds of crime comes from over 30 years of reviewing business books and records both from his time in Customs and in private practice and from both prosecution and defence perspectives.
Our Proceeds of Crime Team has extensive experience in representing companies or individuals. If you would like to speak to us about your requirements, please contact us and arrange an initial meeting with our Mr Anwar.