Money or assets under the "control" of anyone may be "tainted" as a result of criminal activity, including money or property under your control if you are uncertain of its origins or you know it comes from:
- Drug dealing
- Theft or other criminality
Anyone concealing or assisting another to conceal the proceeds of crime is liable to investigation, prosecution and conviction under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Property that is purchased by money "tainted" by criminality including houses, vehicles, jewellery and other high value goods could be concidered an attempt to conceal the proceeds of crime. The process of purchasing the items could be concidered as laundering money, especially if the property is then sold on.
If an investigation is brought before the court, the court can order property to be restrained, forfeited, confiscated or order the sale of property as appropriate and even if you have purchased in good faith you may not get any recompense. The court can also appoint a receiver to manage a viable business linked to criminality.
In certain circumstances after conviction, the court can apply "assumptions" to identify criminal benefit for a period of up to six years prior to the commencement of criminal proceedings.
To avoid breaching money laundering legislation a person or company should take all sensible precautions to identify and verify the source of any property and the identity of any client or person involved in its sale or purchase. This is known as doing 'due diligence' and making 'know your customer' enquiries and all reputable companies working in the financial service sector, estate agents and solicitors will carry out these enquires.
Ultimately it is your responsibility to be certain that the financial transaction that you are involved in is not tainted by criminality.
(Source: Met Police)