Unexplained Wealth Orders: National Crime Agency (NCA) secures the first two UWOs
On 28 February 2018 the NCA announced on its website that it had secured the first UWOs (http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1297-nca-secures-first-unexplained-wealth-orders). The UWOs are said to have been secured to enable the NCA to investigate ‘assets totalling £22m that are believed to ultimately be owned by a politically exposed person (PEP)’ and relate to two properties in London and the South East. The NCA has also secured interim freezing orders over the assets.
As mentioned in my previous post on this subject (https://www.auxiliumtax.co.uk/single-post/2018/02/06/Unexplained-Wealth-Orders), in order to obtain the UWO the NCA would have to have persuaded the High Court (inter alia) that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that the respondent's lawfully obtained income would be insufficient for the individual to obtain the property (s362B POCA 2002). In order to issue the interim freezing order the Court would need to believe that there is a risk that a recovery order might be frustrated (362J POCA 2002).
The NCA has provided no details as to the identity of the respondent(s), but the Financial Times has reported the respondent is a ‘politician from central Asia’ (hence would seem to meet the requirement that the individual is either a politically exposed person or involved in serious crime). The respondent is said to be a politician from the CIS who is already within the sights of the NCA (although this is mere hearsay at the moment).
I shall be monitoring progress with interest and shall report back with developments.