In the first of our two-part series, we looked at Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs). To summarize, UWOs require the recipient to explain how they obtained their wealth/assets, which authorities have reasonable grounds to suspect could not have been with the recipient’s known sources of income. The UWO is the beginning of a journey that can result in assets being taken away from their owners by the state through commencement of civil legal proceedings under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

UK politicians and law enforcement agents have trumpeted these non-conviction-based asset-recovery powers for their ability to recover and rid the UK of laundered assets. However, many obstacles remain in pursuit of this goal. In this GT Alert, we review these civil-recovery powers under POCA against the backdrop of UWOs.

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