Nicola Finnerty, partner in Kingsley Napley's criminal litigation team, comments in The Times about Unexplained Wealth Orders:
Nicola Finnerty, a partner at Kingsley Napley, says that despite their wide-ranging powers, the orders remain an investigative tool. “It is not a finding of guilt and it does not create any new power of civil recovery.”
Therefore, she adds, in cases of civil recovery proceedings, the police or the NCA would still be required to prove on the balance of probabilities that the property was obtained through unlawful conduct and the respondent would be entitled to challenge any decision.
“There may be more, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be more civil recovery orders.”
Ultimately, she says, crooks may be deterred by the existence of the power. “The fact that finances can be probed relatively easily may be enough to deter the proceeds of crime being stashed in this jurisdiction.”
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