Proceeds of Crime Act 2002—key information for law firms
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002—key information for law firms

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002—key information for law firms
  • Offences
  • The principal offences
  • Failure to disclose offences
  • Tipping-off and prejudicing an investigation—core details for law firms
  • Privilege
  • Definitions
  • Jurisdictional reach of POCA 2002

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002) came into force on 24 February 2003. It applies to acts of money laundering committed after that date. It is immaterial when the actual underlying crime took place.

Offences

POCA 2002 establishes a number of money laundering offences including:

  1. three principal money laundering offences of:

    1. concealing

    2. arranging

    3. acquiring

  2. failure to disclose

  3. tipping-off and prejudicing an investigation

The principal offences apply to everyone. Certain failure to disclose and tipping-off offences only apply to persons engaged in the regulated sector. For more information on what constitutes activities in the regulated sector see Practice Note: Money laundering—key information for law firms.

The principal offences

POCA 2002 replaced parallel drug and non-drug money laundering offences under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA 1988) and the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 (DTA 1994). It marked a substantial change in the principal money laundering offences.

The three principal offences of concealing, arranging and acquiring do not distinguish between the proceeds of drug trafficking and other crimes.

Concealing etc

A person commits and offence if they:

  1. conceal

  2. disguise

  3. convert

  4. transfer, or

  5. remove from the UK

criminal property.

This includes concealing or disguising the:

  1. nature of

  2. source of

  3. location of

  4. disposition of

  5. movement of

  6. ownership of, or

  7. any rights with respect to

criminal property.

The person must know or suspect that the criminal property represents a benefit