An eight month investigation has led to six men being charged of money laundering.
After warrants were executed for various locations in the Greater Manchester area under Operation Alveras, various items were seized, from high value cars including a Porsche and a Mercedes, to designer handbags, perfume and high tech gadgets. Operation Alveras was intended to uncover various money laundering Manchester operations being carried out by European gangs.
This isnt the only recent high profile money laundering case. A report earlier in March also detailed that large-scale money laundering operations were happening frequently in London, with 36,000 London properties owned by hidden companies registered in offshore havens, allowing them to avoid tax obligations as well an enabling them to hide any stolen assets. The company CWM Cyclone promotions company is also currently at the centre of a money laundering and fraud investigation, which the company disputes.
What is money laundering?
Money laundering is when money obtained through criminal activity is processed or cleaned in order to cover up the fact that it is not owned legally, though under current law the definition is much broader and covers a variety of crimes. For instance, money laundering can include money used to fund terrorism.
The Proceeds of Crime Act, better known as POCA, has identified three money laundering offences which are summarised thusly:
Concealing, disguising, converting or transferring criminal property or attempting to move criminal property out of the UK.
Knowingly entering into an arrangement involving the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.
Acquiring, using or possessing criminal property without providing adequate consideration.
Under POCA, the term money laundering is very broad, and if you are accused of money laundering then you may be charged with additional offences related to the crime. For example, you might be charged with acting as a courier or Hawala banking, an informal transferring process that has come under fire for enabling tax fraud and money laundering.
However, you should not assume that money laundering is a charge that accompanies other charges. It is entirely possible to be charged with money laundering on its own. The nature of the crime also means that you can be charged with money laundering despite having no active involvement, because all three offences laid out by POCA contains the same elements:
Property that originates from criminal activity
Any acts or actions involving criminal property
Knowledge or suspicion that the property was obtained criminally.
Therefore, many people may be charged with money laundering in a single case. For example, if you have been accused, your spouse might also be charged if the police have reason to believe that they were knowingly involved or suspicious of criminal activity.
Because of the broader definition, money laundering cases are often very complex and can take a long time to process as well as being difficult from a defence standpoint. If you are accused of money laundering, you should look to get representation as early as possible so that your case is more effectively managed for a better outcome.
Stephen Lickrish and Associates are a group of money laundering solicitors in Manchester that have plenty of experience in presenting clients accused of serious fraud. If you need representation for your money laundering case, get in touch today to see how they can help you.