UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDERS
Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO’s) were introduced in the United Kingdom by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and came into effect on 31 January 2018. UWOs are viewed by UK law enforcement as a significant development in the clawing back of the proceeds of crime. A UWO requires a person to explain how an asset, such as real estate, was acquired. If the authorities are not satisfied with the person’s explanation, they may then attempt to seize the asset using powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The UWO poses unprecedented legal challenges that defy traditional lawyering, requiring knowledge and understanding of various instruments of international law. Whereas traditional (white collar) criminal defense lawyering is premised on the accusatory criminal proceedings where the burden of proof is on the prosecution, the defense of a UWO is the reverse. Failure to explain the source of wealth will create a presumption of illegality of the source and justify the seizure without the substantive and procedural guarantees otherwise applicable in either criminal procedures or civil procedures.
Anticipating that this type of mechanism targets politically exposed persons (PEPs) and High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), our team favours a strategic approach based on public international law sources and the use of international forums (international courts, tribunals, arbitration etc.) in order to re-establish the balance of legal guarantees that would otherwise be available in civil or criminal proceedings, increase efficiency of defense, minimalize the impact of deficient local legal systems, and provide leverage to clients in their dealings with law enforcement authorities.
SECURITIZATION OF ASSETS
- Securitization of assets
- Retain full economic benefit of the assets whilst registered beneficial ownership is transferred to a global Top 100 Financial Institution
- Provide a long-term solution for asset protection
- Establish a professionally managed arms-length infrastructure to manage the assets