We were privately instructed to act for our client who was made subject to an account freezing order (AFO) under s.303Z Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as well as being subject to the seizure of a number of high value watches he owned under s.303J Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. These applications were made following a complex investigation by the Major Crime Directorate of the Metropolitan Police.
Following the first hearing application at the magistrates court, we were successful in preventing the seizure of the watches by the Police, as the application for their detention was deemed to be outside the 48 hour period specified in the legislation. As a result, the Magistrates agreed that the watches should be returned to our client.
An AFO was granted for three months as the court, at the time of the application, considered that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the monies held in the named account constituted recoverable property. Following the AFO being imposed by the Court, we prepared and submitted evidence to the Police to support our client’s case that the monies subject to the AFO had been legally obtained by him. Following receipt and consideration of our representations the Police applied to have the proceedings withdrawn. It is understood that this was the first case where the specialist crime directorate had requested an account freezing order to be set aside.
The case demonstrates the necessity of individuals taking a proactive approach when dealing with these type of applications by the Police. Early representations are essential in seeking to secure a successful conclusion on behalf of your client.
Our client was represented by senior partner Mark Bowen. Please contact us for more information on account freezing orders, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the work we undertake in these areas.