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Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO)


Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO) have come into force giving new powers to the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The new legislation allows the crime agencies to freeze and recover assets that they believe have been obtained from proceeds of crime. The powers will be used to investigate those suspected of serious crime and where the assets in question are valued at £50,000.

It is believed the powers will be used as a tool to assist the crime agencies in targeting individuals rather than those suspected of high level organised crime and corruption.

New Powers to Crime Agencies

Critics have argued that the defence against such orders would be very difficult, with individuals having two options, to either comply with the UWO or not. Failure to comply could lead to contempt of court charges, and if misleading or false information is provided in response to a UWO, a separate criminal charge could be brought, which may lead to imprisonment.

If an individual complies with the UWO, the crime agency that imposed it must decide what action to take within 60 days.

Unexplained Wealth Orders were introduced through the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

Criminal Defence Forensic Accountants - Call 0113 387 5670

Our experienced team of criminal defence forensic accountants assist solicitors and barristers in a wide range of cases involving serious crime.

Our team has a wealth of experience in cases involving money laundering, fraud, proceeds of crime (POCA), tax evasion, theft from employer, counterfeiting and benefit fraud.

We also undertake work at Legal Aid Agency rates.

To discuss a potential case with our criminal defence forensic accountants, email us at, call 0113 387 5670, or fill out an Enquiry Form and we will contact you directly.