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Unexplained Wealth Orders

Unexplained Wealth Orders require the respondent to provide information in relation to their assets and how they were obtained. If an application has been made in respect of you or your company, our Unexplained Wealth Order Solicitors are here to help.

At Imran Khan and Partners Solicitors, we have an experienced team of lawyers who are regularly instructed by those who have been made subject to an Unexplained Wealth Order.

Free Initial Telephone Discussion:

For a free initial telephone discussion, please call us on 020 7404 3004 or email and we'll be in touch shortly. We can help clients wherever you are based across England and Wales.

We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you require urgent assistance in respect of an Unexplained Wealth Order application, please contact James O'Hara on 07739327158

What is an Unexplained Wealth Order?

Unexplained Wealth Orders (‘UWO’) were introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 in an attempt to combat money laundering, corruption and bribery.

UWO’s are an investigatory tool which allows enforcement authorities (e.g. the National Crime Agency, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Financial Conduct Authority and Serious Fraud Office) to make an application to the High Court to compel an individual or company to provide specific information or documentation in order to establish whether property has been legitimately obtained.

The applications are often made without notice and the enforcement agency usually request an interim freezing order at the same time to prevent the property being disposed of. Therefore, it is key you seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Test for an Unexplained Wealth Order

In order for the Court to grant an Unexplained Wealth Order, it must be satisfied that the case meets the criteria set out under Section 362B of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 namely:

  • There is reasonable cause to believe that the Respondent (person made subject to the application) holds any property; and

  • That property is worth at least £50,000; and

  • The Respondent’s income is insufficient to have obtained the asset; and

  • The Respondent is either a:

    • Politically exposed person (‘PEP’), a family member or close associate of a PEP from outside of the European Economic Union

    • Involved in serious crime

    • Connected to a PEP or someone involved in serious crime

If a UWO has already been made, please contact our experienced team for professional advice as to whether it is possible to challenge the validity of the Order.

Do I have to respond?

If you do not comply with the UWO without good reason, the property is presumed to be available for civil recovery under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 unless you are able to show the contrary. 

Further, if you provide information which is false or misleading you could be found guilty of an offence and go to prison for up to two-years. If you have been served with a UWO, it is important that you seek legal advice and representation immediately. Our firm has a highly experienced team of Unexplained Wealth Order Solicitors who are ready to assist you.

What happens next?

Applications for UWO’s usually arise where the relevant authority are conducting an investigation into your financial conduct. A UWO provides you with an opportunity to prove that the property does not derive from the proceeds of crime.

If, following your response, the authority is satisfied that the property was obtained legitimately that is likely to be the end of the matter. However, if the suspicions the authority had appear to be made out they may well charge you with a criminal offence such as money laundering. Information gathered during UWO proceedings can be used to inform applications for search warrants or production orders.

If you are convicted of an offence, the Prosecution are likely to commence confiscation proceedings, during which they will attempt to recover your assets to repay what you are alleged to have benefited from your criminal conduct. Statements made in proceedings relating to Unexplained Wealth Orders can be used in confiscation proceedings. Therefore, it is important that you choose the right firm to represent you at the early stages to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

How to get in contact

Please contact Paul O'Donnell on 07740290616, at call 0207 404 3004.  He is a Partner and solicitor, specialising in all matters concerning the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We can assist wherever you are based and have offices in central London.

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