Proceeds of Crime Act: Is Part 5 Extra-Jurisdictional? 

Evan Wright discusses issues relating to the recovery of frozen assets.

Video Transcript

Evan: Part 5 of the Process of Crime Act is as you may know, civil recovery and section 240 of the Proceeds of Crime Act enables the recovery in civil proceedings of property which is, or represents property obtained by unlawful conducts. The court needs to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the conduct represents unlawful conduct, I’ll go no further than there in the sections, safe to say that this, and do not underestimate the capacity and inclination of COCA to deal with more and more cases of this nature over the coming years. They are getting, to be fair to them, a lot more adept at using civil recovery procedures, there was a time when they were quite bad at it, there was a time when it was only undertaken by a limited number of people under COCA. Now it is much more widespread, now they have developed a protocol and now that have an objective, the objective of the NCA. They have these pilot schemes behind them; they have better resources and are much better organised now to deal with civil recovery. One of the big issues for civil recovery is this extra-jurisdictional problem, but it was resolved in fairly short order by the admin court now in a case I have dealt with in the material, the case of the serious organised crime agency, V Perry, so the answer to the question is a simple and straight forward: Yes. The reasons why are in the pack, but when you ask yourself why the Proceeds of Crime Act was enacted, could it have ever been any other question? Bearing in mind what the UK government are trying to achieve, but it was a very good example of how COCA stepped in to seize assets under the civil recovery provisions when, as it happened in this case, Israel decided to convict someone of some very serious money laundering offences, but didn’t actually seek to recover the proceeds. COCA found about £14bn of those proceeds in two bank accounts in London and decided to do what the Israelis hadn’t done in the first place. They didn’t stop there, they went abroad and the Layton Perry complained that they had to make a concession in terms of the property within the UK, but didn’t want to, in respect to the property abroad. That isn’t a barrier now, Perry isn’t the only case that deals with it, but it deals with it quite neatly, as you’ll see in the material and that is an incentive to COCA to deal with more and more assets abroad.

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