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05 Feb 2018

Peter Binning comments on unexplained wealth orders in the London Evening Standard

Under the new “unexplained wealth orders”, those suspected of living off criminal profits could be ordered by the courts to prove where their money came from — and face losing their assets if they fail to do so.

The measure has been hailed by security minister Ben Wallace and the Government’s anti-corruption champion, the MP John Penrose, as a vital new weapon in the fight against dirty money.

Partner Peter Binning commented:

Obtaining a UWO may at first blush look easy enough; find a rich foreigner living in the UK and get a Court to order him or her to explain their ownership of the Mayfair town house. But in practice, it won’t always be that easy, if a person is not a PEP, to get sufficiently reliable evidence, usually from the foreign state concerned, to satisfy the test of reasonable cause to suspect involvement in serious crime. There must be some evidence of this to put before a court and that evidence will need be tested in disputed applications. However much government ministers trumpet this new power, it must not be abused. The right to peaceful enjoyment of property enshrined in Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights is just a reflection of the old saying that an Englishman’s home is his castle. The same rights apply even if the castle happens to have been sold to a Russian!

Read the full article in the London Evening Standard here.