AFOs are an increasingly used tool employed by various investigating authorities and enforcement agencies to freeze all or part of monies held in bank accounts they reasonably suspect of comprising the proceeds of unlawful conduct or could be used in unlawful conduct. An application can be made to a Magistrates Court, with the applicants having to satisfy the Court that there are reasonable grounds to suspect criminal conduct. Therefore the bar for successful applicants is relatively low and applications for AFO’s increasingly used by the authorities. Furthermore, as opposed to Restraint Order, AFO’s are freestanding and there is no requirement that there is an ongoing criminal investigation or proceedings.
AFOs arise out of the Criminal Finance Act 2017 and the provisions governing them are contained in section 303Z of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as amended.
Applications for AFOs are usually made without notice to the party holding the bank account for a period up to 6 months which can be extended to a maximum of 2 years. A party affected by an AFO can apply for a discharge of an AFO at any time. Additionally, applications can be made for the release of funds subject to an AFO for such purposes as the payment of third parties, to enable a business to continue trading and the payment of legal and other expenses.
Janes Solicitors have a wealth of experience in providing advice to parties affected by AFOs both to assist them whilst the AFO is in force and also in making an application to obtaining the discharge of the AFO. If you or your business have been affected by the above, then contact an expert Account Freezing Order lawyer today.
Account Forfeiture Orders (AFRO)
During the currency of an AFO the party that obtained the AFO can apply for an Asset Forfeiture Order to permanently deprive the subject of the funds held in the account. As with AFOs the test is whether a magistrates’ court can be persuaded that all or part of monies held in bank accounts they reasonably suspect of comprising the proceeds of unlawful conduct or could be used in unlawful conduct.
Janes Solicitors are experts in the field of Account Forfeiture Orders have in-depth experience of contesting AFROs and have achieved notable successes for our clients and are able to assist in challenging the making of an Asset Forfeiture Order. If you or your business are affected contact one of our expert lawyers.