Unexplained Wealth Orders

13 February 2019

Unexplained Wealth Orders: What we know one year on

The Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) has been available to law enforcement since February 2018. UWOs are intended to bolster the Proceeds of Crime regime, by making it easier for law enforcement agencies to seize assets suspected of representing criminal property.

Ed Smyth

15 January 2019

Diamonds are (not) forever: NCA keeps up pressure on unexplained wealth

Further developments in the first (so-called) “McMafia” case (see my related blog Media focus on first 'McMafia law' challenge) were reported yesterday when the National Crime Agency (NCA) secured the seizure of a “high value Cartier diamond ring”.

Ed Smyth

11 October 2018

Unexplained Wealth Orders – can you prove the legitimate provenance of all of your significant assets?

Whether you can prove the legitimate provenance of all of your significant assets is a question an increasing number of people may have to start asking themselves. In the last week, the High Court has dismissed an appeal to discharge the first Unexplained Wealth Order (‘UWO’) brought by the National Crime Agency (‘NCA’). 

Ed Smyth

26 July 2018

Media focus on first 'McMafia law' challenge

Media reports today focus on the first challenge to the Unexplained Wealth Order with headlines such as: “Harrods big spender fights to keep mansion”  (BBC News) referring to the case before the High Court on 25th July where “Mrs A” sought to discharge an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) obtained by the NCA against her husband, “Mr A”, in respect of two UK properties with a combined value of £22 million. The NCA alleges that Mr and Mrs A obtained their wealth through foreign corruption.

Ed Smyth

14 February 2018

What you need to know about Unexplained Wealth Orders

Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), first ratified in the Criminal Finances Act of April last year, are now in force meaning UK law enforcement agencies have a new tool at their disposal to help fight organised crime.  Media reports have cited 'fishy millionaires', the wealth of corrupt overseas politicians and the properties of oligarchs as the intended targets.  In practice however UWOs can be applied to any asset over £50,000 where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting dirty money is involved. Accountants, tax advisers and private wealth managers therefore need to understand how UWOs work and why their clients, innocent or otherwise, might be at risk.

Let us take it from here.

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