A UK court has forfeited nearly £500,000 from the bank accounts of the son of the former leader of the Republic of Moldova. The forfeiture is one of the first uses of the bank account forfeiture powers introduced into Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by the Criminal Finances Act 2017. The powers enable the freezing and forfeiture of money in bank accounts where there is a minimum of £1000 and such funds are the proceeds of unlawful conduct. The powers are exercised by the Magistrates’ Court.
Interviewed by moneylaundering.com on the landmark case on 8 February 2019, Anita Clifford, Barrister and Principal Associate at Bright Line Law, commented on how the new powers are valuable to law enforcement and allow authorities to “bypass very complex high court proceedings”. Previously, to forfeit money in bank accounts the only route open to the authorities was via civil recovery proceedings in the High Court which require a value threshold of £10,000. An appeal from an account forfeiture order lies to the Crown Court.
Bright Line Law specialises in Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 cases and has a focus on cash seizure and forfeiture, account freezing and forfeiture, money laundering and civil recovery proceedings in the High Court.