Criminal Finances Act 2017

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Citation2017 c. 22


Criminal Finances Act 2017

2017 Chapter 22

An Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; make provision in connection with terrorist property; create corporate offences for cases where a person associated with a body corporate or partnership facilitates the commission by another person of a tax evasion offence; and for connected purposes.

[27 April 2017]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Proceeds of crime

PART 1

Proceeds of crime

CHAPTER 1

Investigations

Unexplained wealth orders: England and Wales and Northern Ireland

Unexplained wealth orders: England and Wales and Northern Ireland

S-1 Unexplained wealth orders: England and Wales and Northern Ireland

1 Unexplained wealth orders: England and Wales and Northern Ireland

In Chapter 2 of Part 8 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (investigations: England and Wales and Northern Ireland), after section 362 insert—

Unexplained wealth orders

362A. Unexplained wealth orders

(1) The High Court may, on an application made by an enforcement authority, make an unexplained wealth order in respect of any property if the court is satisfied that each of the requirements for the making of the order is fulfilled.

(2) An application for an order must—

(a) specify or describe the property in respect of which the order is sought, and

(b) specify the person whom the enforcement authority thinks holds the property (“the respondent”) (and the person specified may include a person outside the United Kingdom).

(3) An unexplained wealth order is an order requiring the respondent to provide a statement—

(a) setting out the nature and extent of the respondent’s interest in the property in respect of which the order is made,

(b) explaining how the respondent obtained the property (including, in particular, how any costs incurred in obtaining it were met),

(c) where the property is held by the trustees of a settlement, setting out such details of the settlement as may be specified in the order, and

(d) setting out such other information in connection with the property as may be so specified.

(4) The order must specify—

(a) the form and manner in which the statement is to be given,

(b) the person to whom it is to be given, and

(c) the place at which it is to be given or, if it is to be given in writing, the address to which it is to be sent.

(5) The order may, in connection with requiring the respondent to provide the statement mentioned in subsection (3), also require the respondent to produce documents of a kind specified or described in the order.

(6) The respondent must comply with the requirements imposed by an unexplained wealth order within whatever period the court may specify (and different periods may be specified in relation to different requirements).

(7) In this Chapter “enforcement authority” means—

(a) the National Crime Agency,

(b) Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs,

(c) the Financial Conduct Authority,

(d) the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, or

(e) the Director of Public Prosecutions (in relation to England and Wales) or the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland (in relation to Northern Ireland).

362B. Requirements for making of unexplained wealth order

(1) These are the requirements for the making of an unexplained wealth order in respect of any property.

(2) The High Court must be satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that—

(a) the respondent holds the property, and

(b) the value of the property is greater than £50,000.

(3) The High Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the known sources of the respondent’s lawfully obtained income would have been insufficient for the purposes of enabling the respondent to obtain the property.

(4) The High Court must be satisfied that—

(a) the respondent is a politically exposed person, or

(b) there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that—

(i) the respondent is, or has been, involved in serious crime (whether in a part of the United Kingdom or elsewhere), or

(ii) a person connected with the respondent is, or has been, so involved.

(5) It does not matter for the purposes of subsection (2)(a)—

(a) whether or not there are other persons who also hold the property;

(b) whether the property was obtained by the respondent before or after the coming into force of this section.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (3)—

(a) regard is to be had to any mortgage, charge or other kind of security that it is reasonable to assume was or may have been available to the respondent for the purposes of obtaining the property;

(b) it is to be assumed that the respondent obtained the property for a price equivalent to its market value;

(c) income is “lawfully obtained” if it is obtained lawfully under the laws of the country from where the income arises;

(d) “known” sources of the respondent’s income are the sources of income (whether arising from employment, assets or otherwise) that are reasonably ascertainable from available information at the time of the making of the application for the order;

(e) where the property is an interest in other property comprised in a settlement, the reference to the respondent obtaining the property is to be taken as if it were a reference to the respondent obtaining direct ownership of such share in the settled property as relates to, or is fairly represented by, that interest.

(7) In subsection (4)(a), “politically exposed person” means a person who is—

(a) an individual who is, or has been, entrusted with prominent public functions by an international organisation or by a State other than the United Kingdom or another EEA State,

(b) a family member of a person within paragraph (a),

(c) known to be a close associate of a person within that paragraph, or

(d) otherwise connected with a person within that paragraph.

(8) Article 3 of Directive 2015/849/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 applies for the purposes of determining—

(a) whether a person has been entrusted with prominent public functions (see point (9) of that Article),

(b) whether a person is a family member (see point (10) of that Article), and

(c) whether a person is known to be a close associate of another (see point (11) of that Article).

(9) For the purposes of this section—

(a) a person is involved in serious crime in a part of the United Kingdom or elsewhere if the person would be so involved for the purposes of Part 1 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (see in particular sections 2, 2A and 3 of that Act);

(b) section 1122 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 (“connected” persons) applies in determining whether a person is connected with another.

(10) Where the property in respect of which the order is sought comprises more than one item of property, the reference in subsection (2)(b) to the value of the property is to the total value of those items.

362C. Effect of order: cases of non-compliance

(1) This section applies in a case where the respondent fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the requirements imposed by an unexplained wealth order in respect of any property before the end of the response period.

(2) The property is to be presumed to be recoverable property for the purposes of any proceedings taken in respect of the property under Part 5, unless the contrary is shown.

(3) The presumption in subsection (2) applies in relation to property—

(a) only so far as relating to the respondent’s interest in the property, and

(b) only if the value of that interest is greater than the sum specified in section 362B(2)(b).

It is for the court hearing the proceedings under Part 5 in relation to which reliance is placed on the presumption to determine the matters in this subsection.

(4) The “response period” is whatever period the court specifies under section 362A(6) as the period within which the requirements imposed by the order are to be complied with (or the period ending the latest, if more than one is specified in respect of different requirements).

(5) For the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a) a respondent who purports to comply with the requirements imposed by an unexplained wealth order is not to be taken to have failed to comply with the order (see instead section 362D);

(b) where an unexplained wealth order imposes more than one requirement on the respondent, the respondent is to be taken to have failed to comply with the requirements imposed by the order unless each of the requirements is complied with or is purported to be complied with.

(6) Subsections (7) and (8) apply in determining the respondent’s interest for the purposes of subsection (3) in a case where the respondent to the unexplained wealth order—

(a) is connected with another person who is, or has been, involved in serious crime (see subsection (4)(b)(ii) of section 362B), or

(b) is a politically exposed person of a kind mentioned in paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of subsection (7) of that section (family member, known close associates etc of individual entrusted with prominent public functions).

(7) In a case within subsection (6)(a), the respondent’s interest is to be taken to include any interest in the property of the person involved in serious crime with whom the respondent is connected.

(8) In a case within subsection (6)(b), the respondent’s interest is to be taken to include any interest in the property of the person mentioned in subsection (7)(a) of section 362B.

(9) Where an unexplained wealth order is made in respect of property comprising more than one item of property, the reference in subsection (3)(b) to the value of the respondent’s interest in the property is to the total value of the respondent’s interest in those items.

362D. Effect of order: cases of compliance or purported compliance

(1) This section applies in a case where, before the end...

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