On the 8th April the High Court ruled in favour of the respondents to three Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), secured by the NCA in May 2019, and discharged the orders. The NCA disagrees with the judgment and will appeal.
The details of this case are concerned with the ability of law enforcement to use UWOs to compel individuals to detail the source of funds used to purchase assets that they hold. This is distinct from whether the assets themselves are recoverable under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Graeme Biggar, the NCA’s Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “The UK’s robust legal system is recognised worldwide and the ability to challenge decisions is a key part of that reputation. Unexplained Wealth Orders are new legislation and we always expected there would be significant legal challenge over their use.
“We disagree with this decision to discharge the UWOs and will be filing an appeal. These hearings will establish the case law on which future judgments will be based, so it is vital that we get this right.
“The NCA is tenacious. We have been very clear that we will use all the legislation at our disposal to pursue suspected illicit finance and we will continue to do so.”
8 April 2020