Money laundering defence solicitors

We have a team of expert serious fraud lawyers experienced in defending money laundering cases. Many ordinary businessmen and professionals find themselves accused or somehow involved with money laundering issues. Often the spouse or business partner of a suspect can be unwittingly brought into an investigation into money laundering simply because the investigating authorities say they ‘should have known’ that funds were from a criminal source. We have a team of experts in this area to help you through the difficulties you are bound to encounter. This is an area of law which is specialised and requires meticulous attention to detail.

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What is money laundering?

Money laundering in simple terms is where money or assets which are the proceeds of a criminal offence (e.g. fraud, drug trafficking etc) is ‘cleaned’ to disguise where the money originally came from. This means to hide the fact the money or assets came from committing a criminal offence. In the past cash has been used to buy property and when that property has been sold then the original criminality has been disguised by what appears to be a genuine property transaction.

The Proceeds of Crime Act changed things and focussed on the need to target those facilitating crime. This Act introduced new criminal offences specifically aimed at those assisting offenders disguise the origins of their cash. It became an offence to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer and remove criminal property from England & Wales or to be concerned in any arrangement that facilitates money laundering. It is also an offence to acquire, use or possess criminal property. These offences can be found under S327, S328 and S329 of the Act.

In addition to this it was felt important to ensure that vulnerable businesses were not used as vehicles to launder money. This lead to the introduction of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 which came into force in December 2007. These regulations require certain businesses to have systems in place to prevent money laundering and also to report any suspicious activities. If they do not adhere to these rules they could face civil penalties and/or criminal prosecutions.

The offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) concern money laundering from offences committed by the criminal himself or money laundering where it is the proceeds of the offences of another criminal. Investigations into matters of this type are often long and complex. There can be interviews under caution, compulsory documentation and information requests, search warrants executed and many other powers invoked.

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Restraint orders

It is often the case that those being investigated for these offences find themselves the subject of a restraint order which essentially freezes all assets and creates havoc in both business and personal lives. In addition there is the prospect of potential confiscation proceedings taking place if a conviction is secured. This means that assets can be made the subject of a confiscation order to repay the ‘criminal benefit’.

Facing these issues can be daunting and it is essential to get specialist advice from the outset. At Stephensons we have the specialist skills required to challenge the legality of orders and warrants. We have the experience to deal with each stage of an investigation or prosecution and can reassure you that your case will be dealt with as a priority. It is important to be proactive in dealing with any such investigations and we can help you with that.

Our experienced team of fraud lawyers has the expertise and knowledge to look at the required level of detail to defend you. Contact our expert fraud solicitors on 0203 816 9274 or complete our online enquiry form.

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As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.