Anita Clifford examines the “New Era of Forfeiture”

February 21, 2022

Anita Clifford has written an article for Step Journal, Issue 1 of 2022 entitled “New Era of Forfeiture”.

In the piece she examines use of the account forfeiture provisions which were introduced into Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) in 2018. She says:

“In recent months, there have been stunning successes for the enforcement authorities without the need for any substantive hearing. Introduced into POCA by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, the provisions have been a quiet achiever. Proceedings start and end in the Magistrates’ Court therefore costs exposure is significantly reduced.”

Anita looks at the recent forfeiture application by the National Crime Agency where ten account freezing orders had been granted restraining a total of £6.4 million belonging to Suleyman Javadov and his wife Izzat Javadova, both of whom held links to the political elite in Azerbaijan. Just prior to the forfeiture hearing commencing, a negotiated settlement was reached resulting in the forfeiture of £4 million held in four of the ten accounts. In a second and more recent case, a forfeiture application brought by the Crown Prosecution Service was settled resulting in £29 million being recovered by the State. Anita comments that both cases turned on allegations of money laundering but ultimately not against the account holders. She says:

“A new era of account forfeiture has arrived but if settlement is to be a continuing feature, transparency is necessary. Resolution on a no or limited admissions basis and potential to keep some of the funds specified should not only be an opportunity open to account holders with significant means.”

Read full piece here: [STEP]