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Money laundering probe targets £80m London properties

Hunting-Houses-House-Home-Property-700x450.jpgThe High Court has issued a freezing order on three London homes worth £80m, as the government takes another step forward in its anti money-laundering crackdown.

The National Crime Agency asked for an Unexplained Wealth Order against an unnamed foreign official last week, the BBC reports.

In only the second ever use of such an order, the official must disclose the source of their wealth, and cannot sell or pass on the homes until they do so.

The homes are held by offshore companies, but the NCA can apply to seize the properties if the order is not satisfied.

The orders are a new power granted to investigate persons from outside of the European Economic Area suspected of laundering money through British property, and where fraud or embezzlement overseas would be difficult to prosecute in a British court.

The locations of the homes were also not disclosed, but were descried by the NCA in a statement as “prime locations” in London.

NCA head of asset denial Andy Lewis says: “[UWOs are a] powerful tool in being able to investigate illicit finance flowing into the UK and discourage it happening in the first place”.



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