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Inhospitable London: Britain to arrest property of Ukraine's corruptionists

Author : Dmytro Shemelin

13:15, 31 October 2016
Inhospitable London: Britain to arrest property of Ukraine's corruptionists

Author : Dmytro Shemelin

In 2017 Britain is going to implement the unexplained wealth order

13:15, 31 October 2016

Read the original text at eurointegration.com.ua.

london-life.ru

In the spring of 2017 in Britain is expected to real reform breakthrough in the fight against financial crime and corruption - the introduction of unexplained wealth order.

The new mechanism will allow British police officers to arrest hundreds of properties that foreigners bought in England with the proceeds of unknown origin. The relevant bill, Criminal Finances Bill, passed second reading in the House of Commons on November 24 and should be considered in committees.

It is not a secret that England, and particularly London, is an attractive place for foreigners investing money obtained in a relatively honest way. National Crime Agency estimates the annual UK turnover laundering in Britain is 100 billion pounds (more than last year Ukraine's GDP) - and the money, in large part, are expensive to purchase real estate, works of art, collectible cars, jewelry.

Related: Poroshenko declares 800 000 hryvnia and 60 000 of dollars of cash

Still, even with suspected illegal origin of money, the British authorities rarely could do anything: they need a verdict in a criminal case in the country of origin of the funds or in England. It is clear that in reality corrupt have many opportunities to block or delay the process at home almost indefinitely.

Moreover, even if the verdict effort of the new government will be promoted, the foreign criminal proceedings might not meet British standards, and the sentence would not be recognized by the English court.

Related: Savchenko’s declaration: Sister’s cars and mother’s land

As a result, any alleged corrupt seizure could not get the support of the verdict, which meant that the state would have to compensate for losses from the arrest. In this situation, the British men do not want to risk. Now the English weather can change drastically.

Criminal Finances Bill provides that if the British government has the only reasonable suspicion that the property worth more than £ 100,000 was purchased with the proceeds of crime, the court may issue an unexplained wealth order - require the property owner to reveal the source of the acquisition.

Related: People's Deputy Novinsky Declaration: 79 companies, more than 105 million UAH of dividends

Such an order may immediately arrest accompanied assets. If the court order is ignored or improperly executed, the property may be recovered as a received due to proceeds of crime (including under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002). Thus, the law would no longer require that a sentence concerning property owner and evidence that the property acquired with the proceeds from crime.

Interestingly, the effect of the law is not limited in time or in a range of possible owners - any property in England worth more than 100,000 pounds, no matter when it is bought and who is registered, will be subject to unexplained wealth order.

Quite obviously, what it can lead.

Transparency International estimates that in the UK, there are hundreds of objects for which there are serious suspicions that they purchased corruption proceeds.

Related: Groysman provides electronic declaration of his possessions

According to the Land Registry, only Greater London offshore company owned 40 thousand real estate. Guardian estimated that in the City of Westminster and the number of such facilities reached 10% of the registered estate.

Offshore are even found in a famous house Admiralty Arch on Trafalgar Square. The cost of these facilities are estimated at billions of pounds.

Naturally, foreclosure of such objects will be very favorably perceived by the English treasury, suffering from Brexit.

Worse, it is possible that after beta-testing procedures in England, similar procedures will be introduced in other countries, at least in the EU. The British do not tend to kill investment attractiveness of its own state. It is likely that similar restrictions will be strongly recommended worldwide as "good practice in civilized countries."

Related: Head of NABU ordered to check the legitimacy of real property purchase by Leshchenko

Villas in Tuscany and Corsica, villas on the Cote d'Azur and Lake Geneva, Austrian and Swiss hotels would be under attack. In short, all the "alternate aerodromes" of our compatriots who traditionally like to invest abroad is in real estate.

Of course, the use of unexplained wealth order is not as simple as it seems.

First, and this is a key issue for the final seizure of the property seized by unexplained wealth order, the authorities still have to win the case against the owner - either criminal or civil proceedings to prove that the property obtained through illegal proceeds.

Of course, winning a civil standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence) is much easier than denouncing the foreign corrupt in England in the criminal process. However, it is expected that those assets which already have good evidence of their illegal origin would be under attack.

Secondly, it is unclear how to treat this whole concept of European Court of Human Rights.

Related: China didn't confirm transfer of property rights of aircraft "Mriya"

Of course, the English Bill tries to take into account the requirements of the Convention: unexplained wealth order is imposed only by a court, only the court may arrest the property, only by a court and it is charged. The bill received considerable support in the expert community.

However, it is possible that after the first orders will be issued by the British court, waiting for their last test in the walls of the European Court.

Finally, we should not expect that the British will do the work for Ukraine’s domestic prosecution.

The point is that property from Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 goes to the English treasury.

Of course, the English side can take some measures imposed on the transfer of assets of the Ukrainian victims - but in any case, only after it will be fully reimbursed for their costs of investigation, courts and so on.

So we can hardly count on the British in such a personal matter.

Related: Ukraine ranked 109th in the International Property Rights Index 2015

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