The importance of active representation to avoid being charged
We acted for a client who had a wide range of business interests. His businesses produced substantial sums of cash which our client kept secure at his home address. The police attended his house with a search warrant addressed to a relative. During the search the police discovered more than £70,000 in cash. The police detained our client and he was interviewed under caution about the source of the money. He was represented by other solicitors at this stage. The police seized the cash and issued a Notice of Forfeiture under s 298 of The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, The forfeiture notice provided a date for him to attend court if he wished to contest the seizure.
Our client then instructed us and was represented by our money laundering and forfeiture expert Keith Hollywood.
Taking control of the case
Keith immediately contacted the officer in charge of the investigation. There were issues concerning our clients tax liabilities so Keith also worked closely with the client’s accountants. We were able to show that there were legitimate sources for the cash. After extensive representations and the preparation of financial schedules we eventually persuaded the police to confirm that there would not be any prosecution.
We further negotiated return of our client’s cash in respect of future tax liabilities to HMRC.
Note: It is often the case that the initial police search, interview under caution and forfeiture proceedings are just the beginning. Legal aid is not available. Nevertheless it is always in the client’s interest to instruct the right solicitors immediately to ensure that all necessary work is done to persuade the police, or other investigators, that they do not have a case, or that their evidence is not strong enough.