NCA secures first serious organised crime Unexplained Wealth Order for property worth £10 million

A businessman from the North of England with suspected links to serious organised criminals has been ordered to reveal the source of funds used to start and develop his £10 million property empire. An Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) was obtained at the High Court on Friday 12 July as part of the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) investigation into eight properties bought by the businessman in various locations across the country.

The NCA has secured a number of UWOs previously, but this is the first time one has been obtained solely based on an individual’s alleged involvement in serious organised crime.

Officers believe the businessman’s property purchases were funded by a number of criminal associates involved in drug trafficking, armed robberies and supplying firearms.

Interim Freezing Orders have also been granted which means that the properties cannot be sold, transferred or dissipated while the investigation continues.

Andy Lewis, head of asset denial at the NCA, said: “We’re pleased to have again successfully secured a UWO to allow us to investigate the source of the funds used to purchase these properties. These orders are a powerful tool in being able to investigate illicit finance generated within, or flowing into the UK and discourage it happening in the first place. The owner of these properties will now have to explain how they were financed. The NCA will not shy away from complex and detailed investigations against those suspected of serious crime.”

Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), added: “We will use all the powers available to us to target those we believe are trying to launder money through the property market. A priority for the NECC is to ensure we explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance. Our aim is to prevent misuse of the UK’s financial structures which undermines the integrity of the UK’s economy and institutions.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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