Proceeds of Crime and money laundering.
Criminal benefit, money laundering, cash seizure, forfeiture, asset restraint, confiscation and civil recovery are all covered by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Whilst companies, including those in the financial service sector, estate agents, solicitors and dealers in high value goods, amongst others, have specific requirements to report any suspicion of money laundering under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
There are wide definitions of money, criminal property, proceeds and assets which may be forfeited or confiscated as a result of criminal prosecution or civil recovery.
Money or other assets under the 'control' of anyone may be 'tainted' as a result of criminal activity, including:
Money or property under your control if you are uncertain of its origins or you know it comes from:
- Drug dealing
- Theft or other criminality.
Anyone concealing, assisting another to conceal or acquire the proceeds of crime is liable to investigation, prosecution and conviction under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Property purchased by money 'tainted' by criminality includes houses, vehicles, jewellery and other high value goods.
If an investigation is brought before the court, the court can order property to be Restrained, Forfeited, Confiscated or Order the Sale of property as appropriate. The court can also appoint a Receiver to manage a viable business linked to criminality.
In certain circumstances after conviction, the court can apply 'assumptions' to identify criminal benefit for a period of up to six years prior to the commencement of criminal proceedings.
To avoid breaching Money Laundering legislation a person or company should take all sensible precautions to identify and verify the source of any property and the identity of any client or person involved. These are known as Due Diligence and Know Your Customer enquiries.