DPP Business Tax

Unexplained Wealth Orders

If you are the subject of an Unexplained Wealth Orders investigation, the consequences can be serious should you be unable to explain the source of your funds – so seeking good legal representation is vital.

What are Unexplained Wealth Orders

The term “Unexplained Wealth Orders” (UWOs) refers to an action that can be taken by a number of UK authorities, whereby an individual must provide an acceptable explanation regarding the source of any income used to procure property.

If they fail to prove that the income was gained from a valid and legal source, they may face asset seizure and criminal proceedings.

In order to qualify for Unexplained Wealth Orders, law enforcers must confirm that the assets in question are worth over £50,000. They must also have reason to believe that the individual being investigated would not otherwise have had the means to purchase property of this value.

This type of order exists to support the crackdown against organised crime in the UK, and first came into force in January 2018 as part of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

How can DPP Business & Tax help?

The solicitors at DPP Business & Tax have been successfully defending clients accused of the receipt of the proceeds of crime for over 30 years.

We have extensive experience of Unexplained Wealth Orders in the UK. If you are concerned that your source of your assets is likely to be investigated, contact us today

We will help you to collect evidence proving that the funds used to purchase the property in question were legally obtained. We can also help you to fight any connected Civil Recovery Order and build a powerful defence for you in any criminal proceedings that are brought.

It may also be possible for us to assist you in proving that you were unaware that your wealth was the result of criminal activity.

What are the consequences of Unexplained Wealth Orders?

If you are investigated under an Unexplained Wealth Order, you may also be subject to a freezing order. This is an action that can be taken by the court to prevent you from accessing or disposing of certain funds or assets until the investigation has been satisfactorily concluded.

Should you be unable to provide details of any legal source from which your funds were obtained, a Civil Recovery Order may be brought against you. This means that law enforcers have enough reason to believe that those funds are the proceeds of crime.

Under a Civil Recovery Order, your assets may be seized and either sold or liquidated.

If it is found that you provided false or misleading information in response to an Unexplained Wealth Order, you will face criminal proceedings which may result in up to 2 years’ imprisonment and/or considerable fines.

For this reason, it is important that you seek advice from the solicitors at DPP Business & Tax as soon as you are made the subject of an Unexplained Wealth Order.

FAQs

Who can obtain an Unexplained Wealth Order?

UWOs can be brought by a number of official bodies, including:

  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • The Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • The National Crime Agency (NCA)
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

How long does an Unexplained Wealth Order investigation take?

As this process is relatively new to UK law, there is currently no clear precedent regarding the length of time an investigation may take. 

Depending on the complexity of the case, the amounts involved and the standard of the subject’s participation, these orders have the potential to take several weeks or even months to conclude.

Contact us

For valuable help and advice when responding to an Unexplained Wealth Order or building a strong defence, contact the solicitors at DPP Business & Tax today.

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