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Unexplained Wealth Order; our fraud solicitors explain
03 Jan 2022

In the last few years in the UK, there has been a serious crackdown on criminal activity and the seizing of possessions that are suspected to have been purchased from criminal activity.

If you have bought your home, car or any other large investment legally but are now worried about an impending investigation, contact our team.

At ABV Solicitors, our fraud solicitor can cover a range of fraud based investigations and will support you throughout the process. We will also liaise with the investigating body on your behalf, providing our expertise to clear your name. Great!

In this very brief article about Unexplained Wealth Orders, our fraud solicitor answers common questions that we receive from clients.

What is an Unexplained Wealth Order or UWO?

Coming into force in January 2018, an Unexplained Wealth Order or UWO is designed to help authorities to seize properties that may have been purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity.

In simple terms, if someone is engaged in drug smuggling and then purchases a home with the money made, they may find themselves receiving a UWO. The funds used may be the result of laundered money or may have come from foreign sources and accounts held overseas. You will only be served a UWO if you are the legal owner of the property under investigation.

So, if you are served with a UWO, you need to contact our fraud solicitor as soon as possible.

Which agencies can apply for a UWO?

In the UK, it is typically the High Court that applies for a UWO.

However, there may be other agencies involved too, such as;

For any of these agencies to apply to the High Court, the property in question has to be worth a minimum of £50,000. They also have to satisfy the court that there are reasonable grounds to assume that the property has been purchased with the funds obtained from criminal behaviours.

What happens when a UWO is granted?

If you are served with a UWO, then you need to contact our team immediately.

We will help to liaise with the High Court and will argue on your behalf about how the property was purchased to have the UWO stopped.

If you do not contact us and fail to provide evidence about the purchase of the property, then recovery proceedings may begin, the property may have a freezing order placed on it so it cannot be sold and a criminal investigation will be launched into how the property was obtained.

Can it be challenged?

Yes, in certain circumstances a UWO can be challenged and this is where our team at ABV Solicitors comes in.

If you have concerns that the officers who applied for the UWO (irrespective of the agency) were not entirely truthful in their investigation report, then a UWO can be challenged.

Also, if the link between yourself and criminal activity is weak, or you feel there was not sufficient evidence to have made the UWO application, then we can attempt to challenge it.

Make sure that you get the right fraud solicitor

An introduction to fraud