Civil recovery orders

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) as amended by the Criminal Finance Act 2017 (CFA) and related legislation and provisions contains measures which can seriously affect the lives of individuals and the ability of businesses to operate.

Janes Solicitors have experience of dealing with and obtaining excellent result for our clients in respect of such measures which are increasingly used by investigating bodies, enforcement authorities and financial institutions including the following:-

Janes Solicitors can advise you if you or your business have been affected by any such measures. We will guide you on any requirements that you must comply with and how best to proceed. We can also advise you on whether the measures can be challenged and discharged

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Account Freezing Orders (AFOs)

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.

David Janes | Partner

Head of Serious and Complex Fraud and Taxation
020 7930 5100 | Out of hours: 07789 622 430

James Mullion | Partner

020 7930 5100 | Out of hours: 07789 622 430

Simon Barker | Partner

020 7930 5100 | Out of hours: 07789 622 430

Frozen bank accounts and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)

Increasingly the bank accounts of individuals, businesses and companies are frozen by banks and financial institutions after they have submitted a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the National Crime Agency (insert hyperlink to our own page).

The financial institutions must file a SAR to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)   of the National Crime Agency (NCA) whenever there is a suspected case of money laundering or fraud. These reports are tools to help monitor any activity within finance-related industries that is deemed out of the ordinary, a precursor of illegal activity, or might threaten public safety.

SARs are not a new phenomenon and originally arose from the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 (originally called a ‘criminal referral form’ the SAR became the standard form to report suspicious activity in 1996).  However, due to recent bad publicity and sanctions being imposed by the authorities against financial institutions, SARs are increasingly submitted even in respect of relatively small transactions.

Because a bank is prevented by law from informing the account holder of the submission of an SAR whilst the investigatory agency considers the SAR, the account holder will usually know nothing of what has occurred until they find they are unable to operate the account.

Within 14 days the NCA must decide whether to take any further action as a result of the SAR (“the moratorium period”). Often applications will be made to the Crown Court for an extension to the moratorium period for an initial 31 days, with a maximum extension of 186 days. The account holders are required to be provided with at least 2 days’ notice of any application for an extension.

The effect on businesses and individuals of accounts being frozen is obviously serious. From initial correspondence with the Bank, to advising and contesting on any NCA applications for moratorium extension Janes Solicitors are expert lawyers in the field of frozen bank accounts and SARs. We take a proactive approach of communicating effectively on our clients with banks and have achieved notable successes in obtaining the release of funds and unfreezing of accounts. If you or your business have been affected by a frozen bank account or suspicious activity report, contact our expert lawyers today.

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Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs)

UWOs – Sections 1–2 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and sections 362A–362T of Part 8 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

UWOs grant new civil powers to UK law enforcement agencies to help them identify, investigate and seize property suspected to represent the proceeds of criminal activity.

A UWO can be issued by the High Court (upon the application of a number of bodies including the National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, HMRC, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)) where an individual is ‘reasonably suspected’ of involvement or connected to a person involved in serious crime. A UWO  obliges the individual to explain how property was obtained (eg. how a property was purchased) when there may be no discernible legitimate source of funds. As such UWOs allow for the confiscation of property without proving criminality, by reversing the burden of proof so that the person subject to a UWO application needs to show that legitimate funds were used to purchase the property and / or finance a lifestyle.

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Contact our expert unexplained wealth order solicitors

Where you are subject to a UWO or an application for one, the potential consequences are very serious, so it is essential that you are represented by lawyers with experience in this specialist area who can provide the expert advice. Janes Solicitors have in-depth experience and expertise in the field of Unexplained Wealth Orders.

Call one of our expert Unexplained Wealth Order solicitors to see how we can help you and guide you through what can be a challenging time for you and your family.

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Need advice? Call us now.
020 7930 5100
Out of hours: 07789 622 430