Justice Supperstone has dismissed an attempt by ‘Mrs A’, who we cannot name for legal reasons, to strike off the application for two Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO). These UWOs were filed by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
A UWO allows government agencies such as NCA and HMRC to investigate assets aquired by those who do not appear to possess sufficient income. This is an attempt to staunch the flow of ‘illicit’ money into the UK, and came in with the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
Mrs A is the first reciepient of one of these UWOs, and has received two at once. The UWOs are to investigate two properties that Mrs A has funded and purchased in South East England. The two properties were valued at around £22m.
“We’re delighted that this investigation will continue and unexplained wealth orders are proving to be a valuable tool in the fight against corruption,” said Transparency Internationals UK director of policy Duncan Hames. “This decision to hold this hearing in public is a welcome step that should reassure the public that action is being taken against dirty money in our economy.”
To date this is the only known case involving UWOs. The respondent has seven days to appeal this ruling.