Q&As

If a client has conducted an activity abroad that would be considered illegal abroad but would be legal in the UK, would any resulting property be criminal property under POCA 2002, and are there any other laws that would make it criminal to bring that property into the UK and for a legal professional to ‘handle’ the money?

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Produced in partnership with Peter Steel of Bevan Brittan LLP
Published on LexisPSL on 15/11/2019

The following Practice Compliance Q&A produced in partnership with Peter Steel of Bevan Brittan LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If a client has conducted an activity abroad that would be considered illegal abroad but would be legal in the UK, would any resulting property be criminal property under POCA 2002, and are there any other laws that would make it criminal to bring that property into the UK and for a legal professional to ‘handle’ the money?

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002) creates the three main money laundering offences, with penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment. They are:

  1. POCA 2002, s 327—concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property or removing it from the jurisdiction

  2. POCA 2002, s 328—entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement to facilitate the acquisition, retention or control by, or on behalf of another person of criminal property knowing or suspecting that the property is criminal property, and

  3. POCA 2002, s 329—acquiring, using or having possession of criminal property

In each case, commission of the offence depends on the notion of ‘criminal property’. This is defined in POCA 2002, s 340 as:

  1. a person's benefit from criminal conduct

  2. represents such a benefit (in whole or part and whether directly or indirectly)

  3. where the alleged offender knows or suspects that it constitutes or represents such a benefit

‘Criminal conduct’ is defined in POCA 2002, s 340(2) as ‘conduct which:

  1. constitutes an offenc

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