Unexplained Wealth Orders In London

Malcolm Simmons Headshot With Glasses

“A leading expert in HMRC investigations, fraud and complex financial crime”
“Great advice that saved my business and reputation”

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Significant experience defending those accused of committing complex financial crimes including

  • HMRC Investigations
  • Bribery & Corruption
  • Insider Dealing
  • Money Laundering
  • Corporate Manslaughter and Health & Safety Law
  • Fraud and Financial Crime
  • Corporate Crime
  • Tax Investigations
  • Cash Seizures, restraint Orders and Confiscation Proceedings

Former international judge who presided in many complex serious and organised crime cases including tax evasion, money laundering, fraud and asset confiscation cases. Will give clear strategic advice for the successful conclusion of difficult financial crime cases.

If you are charged with an alleged financial crime, you might find yourself facing an ‘Unexplained Wealth Order’.

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 creates “Unexplained Wealth Orders”.

An Unexplained Wealth Order is an investigative tool which can be used by law enforcement agencies in connection with High Court Civil Recovery, which falls under Part 5 of POCA. The Unexplained Wealth Order will precede a potential Civil Recovery application and can be obtained from a High Court Judge, without a suspect having prior knowledge.


The Order can be applied for in England and Wales by the National Crime Agency, HMRC, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office or the Crown Prosecution Service.

A person who is suspected of involvement in or association with serious criminality must explain the origin of any asset with a value in excess of £50,000 that appears to be disproportionate to their known or declared income.

A failure to provide a response would give rise to a presumption that the asset in question is the product of crime and may be frozen in order to assist any subsequent civil recovery action. If frozen property is found not to be a proceed of crime the owner of the asset may be entitled to compensation.

An individual may be convicted of a criminal offence if they make false or misleading statements in response to an Unexplained Wealth Order.

I addition to ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’ another tool in the prosecutor’s armoury is the Disclosure Order under the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

A disclosure order authorises a law enforcement officer to require anyone they think has relevant information to an investigation to answer questions, provide information or to produce documents.

‘Relevant information’ is defined as information the officer considers to be relevant to the investigation (Section 357(5) of the Proceeds of Crime Act).

The application for a disclosure order must state that a person specified in it is subject to a confiscation, exploitation, or money laundering investigation, or that property specified in it is subject to a civil recovery, detained cash, or frozen funds investigation.

The disclosure order empowers the appropriate to make the requirement in the form of a written notice and may require a person to answer questions at a specified time and place, to provide information at a time and in a manner specified in the notice and/or to produce a document or documents of a specified description by a time and in a manner specified in the notice.

A disclosure order may remain in force throughout the life of an investigation.

An application can now also be made for a disclosure order in the context of a money laundering investigation, confiscation, civil recovery or exploitation proceeds investigation;

Statements made in response to an order may not – subject to certain exceptions – be used in criminal proceedings against the person who gave the information. A person subject to an order is not required to provide items or material subject to legal privilege or excluded material which, broadly speaking, comprises medical and other personal data held subject to a duty of confidentiality.

Recognising that being accused of a serious criminal offence can be a worrying time, we will provide constructive, strategic and supportive advice throughout the process in order to achieve the best outcome. Contact us for a free consultation.



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