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UK Confiscation : "it's a no-brainer,"

As Lord Woolf confirms that the Court of Appeal was wrong to allow John "Goldfinger" Palmer to retain proceeds of fraud, the Home Office is deciding whether to try to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to attack the funds. Easy-peasy, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill

Nigel Morris-Cotterill, chairman of The Anti Money Laundering Network and senior consultant with Silkscreen Consulting, the leading counter-money laundering consultancy says the Home Office should not have to think too hard to see how the recently introduced Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 can help to get their hands on the money retained by Palmer.

"It's a no brainer," said Morris-Cotterill. "The Proceeds of Crime Act relates to money laundering. A person can launder the proceeds of his own or someone else's crime. Being in possession or control of proceeds of crime is one of the types of money laundering. Palmer is in possession or control of the proceeds of the frauds of which he has been convicted.

"Whilst legislation cannot have retrospective effect, money laundering is a continuing offence. Where money is proceeds of a crime that took place before the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, but is laundered after that date, the Act applies to the laundering. There is no limitation on how old the crimes giving rise to the proceeds are. No criminal who is sitting on funds arising from before the Act is safe, unless he has already been acquitted of money laundering. If Palmer has not previously been charged with laundering, then getting the money should be child's play.

"So if the Home Office want to get their hands on the money, all they have to do is invoke the money laundering provisions under Part Seven of the Act in respect of the current possession or control of the funds. That will then create a new offence in respect of which the funds can be attached under the new Act."

Morris-Cotterill is regarded as one of the world's leading counter-money laundering strategists and has a reputation for radical approaches which are often seen as unworkable when he first suggests them but which are successfully applied by prosecutors several years later. It was he who first suggested, in 1994, that the UK's 1993 money laundering laws could be used against money launderers even where there was no conviction or even clear evidence of a crime that created the laundered funds. That position was tested only in 2000 - and the prosecution was successful in the Court of Appeal.

World Money Lau...



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