Unexplained Wealth Orders
Security Minister Ben Wallace, MP, announced recently a new crime bill aimed at ‘taking crooks’ liberty and cash’.
The Criminal Finances Bill 2016-17 had its second reading on 25 October 2016.
The summary of this Bill, as published on the www.parliament.uk website is as follows:-
‘A Bill 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.’
As part of this Bill, it is hoped that the new ‘Unexplained Wealth Orders’ will unmask the ‘Mr Bigs’ who police suspect are involved in serious crimes, as well as removing the ill-gotten gains of foreign dictators, crime bosses, terrorist suspects and, in addition, any multi-millionaire or billionaire if they cannot explain where their wealth came from.
The law could also be applied to foreign politicians, or officials, or their associates. It would allow the authorities to take legal action against Russian oligarchs linked to Vladimir Putin who use London to ‘hide’ their money, and African dictators who invest millions outside their own countries.
The new law was inspired by gangster David Hunt who, at the High Court in London in 2013 said he ‘could not recall’ how he could afford a large home on the salary of a scaffolder and ‘had filed no tax returns and paid no tax from 1982 to 1996’.
Whitehall sources have confirmed that the new law is aimed at people such as David Hunt, who a Judge in 2013 described as ‘a violent and dangerous criminal and the head of an organised crime group implicated in murder, drug trafficking and fraud’.
The message from the government is clear. Those who avoid paying tax, or have an undeclared business could soon face civil legal proceedings to recover the money – or criminal charges if they make false or misleading statements.
If you need help in relation to Unexplained Wealth Orders, call our specialist team now on 0800 1933 999.