“Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors is ‘a firm dedicated to the old-fashioned virtue of conscientious hard work in pursuit of their clients’ interests’.”
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) gives UK law enforcement a range of significant powers, to both seize and apply for forfeiture of cash and assets.
If a law enforcement agency believes an individual or business has derived cash or assets from criminal activity, or that cash and assets will be used for criminal activity then the property can be seized.
The property is held whilst their suspicions are investigated further. These types of applications are usually made without notice and with reliance on scant detail to justify the application. A straight forward scenario would be a person stopped in possession of a large amount of cash with no obviously discernible source or purpose.
Whilst the seizure of assets is temporary it can lead to permanent forfeiture of assets if the Court are not convinced of the legitimate source of the property. Whilst the potential loss of property will be a huge cause of concern, if your cash or assets are seized, you will also be worried that it may be indicative of a wider criminal investigation into you. For these reasons, it is vital to seek specialist advice as soon as you become concerned your cash or assets have been seized.
These powers are deployed in a variety of circumstances and can include:
Often, high-value property and assets are seized. This is distressing for individuals and can be terminal for businesses. Fast action must be taken to protect you and your business’ interests.
The challenge of these proceedings are that you will find yourself having to justify your possession of the asset. You will be called upon to present evidence to support your position.
It is vital that you seek representation from lawyers that are not only familiar with asset seizure, but also have vast experience of defending criminal proceedings. At every stage your lawyer will need to have consider how your response to these proceedings may impact any criminal investigation. Often, law enforcement agencies will seek your cooperation to obtain disclosure of your documents and records. This might include your bank statements or an account of how you manage your finances. Before deciding whether to provide this information, you should seek expert legal advice to ensure your position is protected.
As an alternative to discharging an order completely, you also have the right to apply to vary the order. For example, to ensure the smooth functioning of your business or to ensure your vital daily expenses. HJA have the expertise to make these applications quickly, thereby protecting what is important to you.
Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors have the resources and depth of knowledge to move quickly to defend against any application made by law enforcement authorities to seize your assets.
We understand the technical procedures that law enforcement agencies are required to follow, when embarking on this course. We can urgently check whether these have been followed and can pursue applications to free up your cash and assets. This is backed up by vast experience in defending these types of applications and orders. Our criminal defence experience means that at all times we are focused on the wider picture and ensuring your position is properly protected.
We have access to a highly-skilled set of financial crime experts -from advocates and barristers to forensic accountants to cultural experts to business intelligence professionals. They can be deployed to assist in presenting evidence that the source and intended use of the cash is legitimate.
Partner Kiran Mehta advised a cash intensive business in connection with funds seized from their safety deposit box on suspicion the funds represented the proceeds of illicit drug related activity of a family member. We were able to successfully collate evidence to demonstrate that the cash seized represented the proceeds of the genuine business activity.
Suspected Criminal Property
Partners Ruth Harris and Kiran Mehta have previously advised individuals caught up in Operation Rize, which was one of the largest investigations of its kind by the Metropolitan Police in connection with suspected criminal property stored in safety deposit boxes. Many of these cases concerned precisely the above type of considerations relating to criminal investigations into the individuals connected to the safety deposit boxes.
Student accused of Money Laundering
Advised Chinese student accused of money laundering. Cash in out of tender £50 notes was seized when he attended the Bank of England to transfer the equivalent funds to his bank account. Successfully defended cash seizure proceedings. Defence involved consideration of issues relating to currency controls in China and instruction of Chinese expert. Evidence was gathered which convinced police that the millions of pounds used to purchase property in the UK from a Chinese source was not the proceeds of crime and no further action was taken.
Our top ranking team have years of experience representing the innocent. We stand up to the prosecution who will always be represented by an experienced solicitor or barrister. We know how to fight and win cases.
Representing you at the Police Station or in Court If you need urgent representation call us today. Share a few details with us and we’ll let you know how we can help you.
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