Proceeds of Crime / Confiscation
Confiscation proceedings are a common feature in criminal cases in which it is alleged a defendant has benefitted from their criminal conduct. They involve an assessment of not only how much has been obtained by the defendant from the crime which they were convicted of, but often, whether they have benefitted from their general criminal conduct as well.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 requires assumptions to be applied by Judges to the effect that defendants who are proved to have what in law is known as a “criminal lifestyle”, must prove that property obtained and transferred by them in the 6 years preceding charge, either did not derive from crime or that it would be unjust to assume that it had.
This can be an onerous burden to discharge, particularly for defendants involved in business dealings or for those who have not maintained detailed records.
ABV offer advice and assistance to individuals and businesses facing confiscation proceedings. We are frequently instructed in complex cases involving defendants with substantial assets who have a multitude of legal issues to address when confiscation proceedings are brought. These can include liaising with HMRC who may be creditors, as well as clarifying whether others hold beneficial interests in property which the Prosecution say is available to satisfy a confiscation order.
Since section 10A of the Proceeds of Crime Act came into force on the 1st June 2015, Crown Court Judges have had the power to determine the extent of any beneficial interest held in property by a third party. It is now common for spouses, family members and business partners to become interested parties in confiscation proceedings. Our solicitors are accustomed to providing advice and representation to third parties in such proceedings.