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Money Laundering

Specialist Money Laundering Defence Lawyers

Olliers’ specialists have substantial experience of acting in cases of alleged money laundering.

We understand how the consequences of a money laundering inquiry can be dramatic with legitimate businesses and unsuspecting individuals often pulled into the investigation.

Assets are often restrained at an early stage. Restraint Orders involve significant intrusions into the lives of restrained individuals. Orders made ex-parte normally make it impossible for the restrained individual to operate their businesses or discharge normal outgoings. Investigations can be complex and last many months or even years. This raises the very real prospect of suspects or third parties being subject to draconian limitations on their assets and expenditure for significant periods of time without even being charged. For more information on how we can help see our restraint page.

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is defined as “the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into assets which appear to have a legitimate origin, so that they can be retained permanently or recycled into further criminal enterprises”.

Money laundering can be broken down into two distinct types of offences:

  • Those who commit offences and then launder the proceeds of those criminal offences.
  • Those whose only criminal involvement is to launder the proceeds of crime committed by others.

Money laundering relates to offences concerning possession, concealment, conversion, transfer of making of arrangements relating to the proceeds of crime. Money laundering offences are found in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). The main money laundering offences under Part 7 of POCA are: concealing, disguising, converting, transferring, or removing criminal property (s327) arranging or facilitating criminal property (s328) acquiring, using or possessing criminal property (s329).

In order for property to be defined as criminal it must be proven that it was obtained through criminal activity.

Failure to disclose

An offence of failing to disclose is committed where a person:

  • receives information in the course of a business in the regulated sector
  • thereby knows or suspects or has reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting that another person is engaged in money laundering, and
  • can identify that other person or the whereabouts of any of the laundered property or believes, or it is reasonable for them to believe, that the information will or may assist in identifying that person or whereabouts of any of the laundered property; and
  • fails to disclose to a nominated officer or a person authorised for the purposes of Part 7 by the Director General of the NCA, the information on which his knowledge or suspicion is based as soon as is practicable after the information comes to him.

The inclusion of the wording “has reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting” reflects the fact that individuals who carry out activities in the regulated sector are expected to exercise a higher level of diligence in handling transactions than those employed in other businesses.

The disclosure of the following is required:

The identity of the person mentioned, if known;

  • The whereabouts of the laundered property, so far as it is known; and
  • The information or other matter mentioned.

The most common defence to this allegation is that the information came to a processional legal advisor in legally privileged circumstances. Our team of specialist money laundering solicitors can advise in relation to this complex area of law.

The offence has a maximum penalty of up to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Tipping off offence

Under section 333A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 it is an offence for a person to disclose information, likely to prejudice an investigation, where that information came to the person in the course of business in the regulated sector.

An offence can arise where an alleged offender discloses to a third party that a Suspicious Activity Report has been made to the police, the National Crime Agency (NCA) or HMRC if that disclosure may prejudice any investigation carried out by such agency

A person guilty of a ‘tipping off’ offence is liable to a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment.

What are the penalties for money laundering?

Money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 14 years or a large fine. The sentence depends on the amount of money involved as well as any aggravating or mitigating features.  The seriousness of the offence increases with the amount of laundered cash. Laundering the proceeds of drugs offences will typically lead to a higher sentence. The monies themselves will also become subject to a confiscation order.

How can Olliers help?

Olliers can assist in the following types of cases:

  • If you are under investigation in relation to a money laundering investigation
  • If your assets have been restrained and you are subject to a Restraint Order (RO)
  • If you require advice on whether a report should be made to the NCA and what such a report should contain.

Contact a specialist money laundering lawyer? (London & Manchester)

Olliers is one of the UK’s leading criminal defence and regulatory law firms, specialising in the defence of individuals, businesses, and other organisations across a broad range of corporate and financial crime, regulatory offences, serious crime and sexual offences. We also represent professionals facing investigation or prosecution before their regulatory body. And, we use the same skillset to represent individuals and organisations facing criticism before inquests and public inquires.

We are ranked as a “Top Tier” defence & regulatory firm by the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide. In 2023 we won the award for Crime Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards for the sixth time. We are a Times Best Law Firm 2022. In 2022 we were awarded Law Firm of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards for the second year in a row.

Our Managing Director, Matthew Claughton, is the 2023 Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Criminal Lawyer of the Year. Matthew is also the only two-time Partner of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards, most recently in 2021

If you or a family member are facing a money laundering allegation, contact our specialist team to discuss your case on 0161 834 1515, email us at info@olliers.com or complete the form below.

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