An unexplained wealth order (UWO) is the latest weapon available to the authorities that seek to take assets from those they suspect of wrongdoing. If you are a high net worth individual (HNWI), company or trust facing a UWO it is vitally important that you respond carefully and intelligently. Only by doing this can you maximise your chances of keeping what is yours.
Rahman Ravelli has the all-important experience and expertise in this area of law. We are the logical firm to come to for any HNWI or organisation that needs to defend their assets because they are being targeted by a UWO.
As a firm that was the first to take civil recovery cases to the likes of the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court, we have received the highest ranking in national and international legal guides. Chambers and Partners, one of the most prestigious international legal guides, classes Rahman Ravelli as one of a very small, elite band of firms that excel in this challenging area of law. It names our solicitors as being among the very best in the UK in this legal field. Our accolades and award wins are due to our ability to think innovatively and act decisively for clients.
Introduced into UK law in January 2018 by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, a UWO requires an individual or organisation to explain how they came to possess an asset. Failure to provide an explanation considered adequate by the authority that has obtained the UWO will see the asset classed as “recoverable property”. This will lead to efforts to have it taken from them via a civil recovery order issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the National Crime Agency (NCA), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are the authorities that can apply to the High Court for a UWO for any assets valued at more than £50,000. The NCA is the main agency that handles UWO applications.
When considering the application, a High Court judge must decide whether the person or organisation against whom a UWO is sought is a politically exposed person (PEP) who is not a citizen of the European Economic Area, a person suspected of serious crime here or abroad or someone connected to a person suspected of serious crime here or abroad.
For a UWO application to be successful, a criminal investigation does not have to have been started. A UWO can even be applied for by an authority on a without notice basis, which means that the application is made to the court without those affected by it being notified.
But UWOs can be challenged. The subject of one has to act swiftly and take precisely the right steps in a way and at a time that maximises their chances of a successful challenge.
Rahman Ravelli is a market leader in challenging all types of orders brought against companies and individuals. We act with speed, intelligence and strategy to challenge all assumptions made by the authorities and attack every weakness in any case brought against our clients. Our ability to think outside of the box and tackle the authorities’ claims at every stage has made us the first stop for many HNWIs facing official challenges to their right to own their assets.
Elsewhere on these pages you can read more about UWOs. But what is important to remember is that Rahman Ravelli is a recognised leader in the area of law to which UWOs are the latest addition. That is why we are the very best people to come to if you are facing a UWO.
Further Reading:We have an in-depth guide relating to this subject which can be read here:
▸ Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) - An In-Depth Guide
If you would like to speak to our specialist team, we can be contacted on: +44 (0)203 947 1539.