The National Crime Agency (NCA) has issued its latest Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) to a property owner who, it believes, is associated with criminals involved in paramilitary activity and cigarette smuggling.
The order in effect freezes the ownership of the woman’s property portfolio which is estimated to be worth £3.2 million, including properties in London and Northern Ireland.
The woman, who the NCA has not named, may have links to serious organised crime and has been ordered to explain how she financed the purchase of the properties.
The order is part of the NCA investigation into properties owned by the woman who now lives in London.
The NCA says four of the properties are in London and a further two are in Northern Ireland. Interim Freezing Orders have also been granted which means that the properties cannot be sold, transferred or dissipated while the investigation continues.
“This is the fourth case in which we have obtained a UWO,” says Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA. “Our investigations are complex and involve careful consideration before we make an application before the court.
“We do not investigate illicit finance based on monetary value alone. This latest order shows that we will act against those who we believe are causing the most harm to our communities.”
Sarah Pritchard (left), Director of the National Economic Crime Centre, says: “Criminally obtained assets undermine the integrity of the UK’s economy and institutions.
“We will use all the powers available to us to target those we suspect are trying to launder money and will explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance.”
As The Negotiator has reported before, the latest UWO is part of an ongoing attempt to force suspected criminals to explain where their property wealth has come from.