Criminal Finances Act 2017

Written 29th September 2017 by Ruth Peters

Having received Royal Ascent on the 27th April 2017 the Criminal Finances Act (CFA) comes into force on 30th September 2017.

The Act contains a number of important features.

Unexplained Wealth Orders

An Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) can be made against:

  • Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
  • Those associated with, or involved with, serious crime

In the case of a PEP there is no requirement for proof of any link to criminal behaviour. The key feature is reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person holds assets disproportionate to their known income. An application is made to the High Court and a failure to comply with the order can mean that the property in question is “recoverable” for the purposes of civil recovery under POCA.

Providing false or misleading response during the course of an application is an imprisonable offence. The threshold for a UWO can be made property valued at £50,000.

Disclosure Orders

Disclosure Orders already exist in relation to confiscation and Serious Fraud Office investigations and now extend to money laundering enquiries.

Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and information sharing

The Act provides for greater levels of information sharing within regulated entities. The Act also seizes the introduction of the single SAR for multiple reporters of suspicious activity.

Forfeiture of removable objects

Items such of watches, valuable works of art and jewellery can be designated as listed assets and made the subject of new civil powers, similar to cash seizure and forfeiture already in existence. The Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC will now enjoy the same civil recovery owers as those in existence for the National Crime Agency, The Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Corporate failure to prevent tax evasion

There are two new failure to prevent offences:

  • Failure to prevent the facilitation of domestic tax evasion,
  • Failure to prevent the facilitation of foreign tax evasion.

These offences cannot be committed by an individual. The Act contains a defence if a relevant body has in force “reasonable prevention procedures” that identify and mitigate tax evasion facilitation risks.

Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Criminal Defence Lawyers

Written by Matthew Claughton. Matthew specialises in defending allegations of fraud, serious crime and sexual offences. He is the only North West Lawyer to be ranked as a Leading Individual by the 2016 edition of the Legal 500 for both Crime and Fraud. If you require advice in relation to the Criminal Finances Act please contact Matthew by email at or by telephone on 0161 827 7010.

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