Unexplained Wealth Orders—UWOs
Produced in partnership with Leon Kazakos QC of 2 Hare Court
Unexplained Wealth Orders—UWOs

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Leon Kazakos QC of 2 Hare Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Unexplained Wealth Orders—UWOs
  • The unexplained wealth order (UWO)
  • The reasoning behind the creation of UWOs
  • Key sections and provisions of the legislation
  • Who can apply for an UWO?
  • Interim Freezing Orders
  • Persons against whom a UWO can be made
  • Politically Exposed Persons
  • Involved in serious crime
  • Connected to serious crime
  • More...

The unexplained wealth order (UWO)

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA 2017) created new investigatory powers in the form of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs). These became available to enforcement authorities in High Court civil recovery proceedings issued under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002) from 31 January 2018 with retrospective effect ie it does not matter whether the property was obtained by the respondent before this date. See Practice Note: Criminal Finances Act 2017—progress through Parliament [Archived].

UWOs require a person who is suspected of involvement in or association with serious criminality to explain the origin of assets that appear to be disproportionate to their known income. In short, an order requires the respondent to provide a ‘statement’ setting out the nature and extent of their interest in the property in respect of which the order is made ie to explain the source of their suspicious wealth. A failure to provide a full response would give rise to a presumption that the property is recoverable property for the purposes of POCA 2002, Pt 5 and the civil recovery regime. The regime for UWOs provides an alternative means of investigating or proving such matters. If the respondent purports to comply with the order but, upon investigation, the property is nevertheless assessed to be recoverable, then the statutory scheme anticipates an application being

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