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A court has frozen £10 million of property suspected to have been attained with money from drug trafficking, armed robberies and supplying firearms.
A businessman from the north of England with suspected links to serious organised criminals has been ordered to reveal the source of funds used to start and develop his £10 million property empire.
The National Crime Agency obtained an Unexplained Wealth Order at the High Court on Friday (12 July) as part of its investigation into eight properties bought by the businessman in various locations across the country.
The NCA has secured a number of UWOs previously, but this is the first time one has been obtained solely based on an individual’s alleged involvement in serious organised crime, the agency revealed.
The court has approved interim freezing orders, which means that the properties cannot be sold, transferred or dissipated while the investigation continues.
Andy Lewis, head of asset denial at the NCA, said, “We are pleased to have again successfully secured a UWO to allow us to investigate the source of the funds used to purchase these properties. These orders are a powerful tool in being able to investigate illicit finance generated within, or flowing into the UK and discourage it happening in the first place.
“The owner of these properties will now have to explain how they were financed. The NCA will not shy away from complex and detailed investigations against those suspected of serious crime.”
Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, added, “We will use all the powers available to us to target those we believe are trying to launder money through the property market.
“A priority for the NECC is to ensure we explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance. Our aim is to prevent misuse of the UK’s financial structures which undermines the integrity of the UK’s economy and institutions.”