LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s main fraud prosecutor says he’s combing by means of his case load to detect indicators that criminals are utilizing the nation to cover illicit wealth, as new powers come into impact that enable authorities to grab the proceeds of “dirty money”.
So-called Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), which got here into power on Wednesday, enable authorities to freeze and get better property if people can not clarify why they personal belongings price greater than their earnings and present they have acquired them legally.
Under the brand new guidelines, that are designed to cease corrupt folks utilizing Britain as a protected haven, people will be fined and jailed in the event that they make deceptive statements.
“We have been combing through all existing case work and intelligence and have matters of interest that might transmogrify …,” David Green, the outgoing head of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), advised an viewers at London think-tank The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on Tuesday night.
London has lengthy been seen as a favoured vacation spot for corrupt money. Transparency International, an anti-corruption group, says it has recognized four.four billion kilos price of property in Britain that needs to be thought of as attainable candidates for UWOs.
It highlighted 5 properties – 4 in London and one within the metropolis’s commuter belt in Guildford, Surrey – that it mentioned authorities ought to think about as sources of doubtless illicit wealth.
Rachel Davies Teka, head of Advocacy Transparency International UK, mentioned the introduction of UWO’s would assist fight the combat in opposition to “dirty money” flowing into Britain.
“They will allow law enforcement to much more easily investigate assets that are highly likely to have been bought using corrupt money, often stolen from populations in some of the poorest parts of the world,” she mentioned.
Green known as UWOs an “extremely useful tool” however cautioned that the SFO wouldn’t use them till it had the fitting case.
Reporting by Kirstin Ridley, modifying by David Evans