On 14 August 2019 the National Crime Agency (the "NCA") announced that it had obtained account freezing orders ("AFOs") on eight bank accounts containing more than £100 million which the NCA considered to contain funds "suspected to have derived from bribery and corruption in an overseas nation". AFOs allow the NCA and the Serious Fraud Office (the "SFO") to apply to freeze and potentially subsequently forfeit funds held in bank accounts suspected to contain illicit funds, through the use of Forfeiture Orders or Account Forfeiture Notices.
The NCA declined to identify the individual or individuals involved but noted that £20 million held in accounts by a linked individual was frozen as a result of a previously unreported hearing in December 2018. This latest round of AFOs is the largest amount of money frozen since the powers were introduced in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (the "CFA"), which received royal assent on 27 April 2017.
Between April 2010 and March 2018, a total of £1.6 billion has been seized through use of powers contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ("POCA"), where the AFO powers are now contained. Despite the relative lack of media attention, the use of AFOs in particular has been enthusiastically embraced and this latest case brings the total amount frozen by AFOs in 2018/19 to more than £260 million through the use of around 650 separate orders.
Visit us at mayerbrown.com
Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.
© Copyright 2019. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.
This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive