Proposed Amendments to UK Proceeds of Crime and Terrorism Legislation 


Shearman & Sterling LLP

A Bill was introduced in the UK Parliament proposing amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Terrorism Act 2000. The Bill forms part of the UK Government’s Action Plan to counter money laundering and the funding of terrorism. The Government launched a consultation in April this year on its proposals to overhaul the UK approach to AML and CTF. The Government’s Response to the initial consultation was published on the same day that the Bill was introduced. 

The Bill, amongst other things, introduces Unexplained Wealth Orders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These would require a person who is suspected of involvement in or associated with serious criminality or overseas politically exposed persons to explain the origin of their assets that appear disproportionate to their income. The Bill also creates requirements for disclosure orders in connection with investigations into terrorist financing offenses, introduces two new corporate offenses for failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. These measures are being introduced in response to the so-called “Panama Papers” scandal and aim to hold organizations and corporations to account where their employees engage in actions to assist customers in evading tax. In addition, civil recovery powers (ability to recover property where there has not been a criminal conviction, but where it can be shown on the balance of probabilities that that property has been obtained through unlawful conduct) are to be extended to the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Revenue and Customs. The Bill will also enable the ‘moratorium’ period contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to be renewed, upon application to the court, for up to 186 days (from expiration of the initial 31 day period), and create a power for the NCA to request further information from any person in the regulated sector. Legally privileged information is exempted from the scope of this requirement.  

View the Bill.

View the explanatory memorandum

View the Government Response.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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