31/07/2019

NI Woman At Centre Of National Crime Agency Probe

A Northern Irish woman has been ordered by the National Crime Agency (NCA) to explain how she financed property purchases worth around £3.2 million.

The woman, who now lives in London, is believed to be involved in paramilitary activity and cigarette smuggling.

The finances of six of her properties, four of which are in London and two in Northern Ireland, face scrutiny under an Unexplained Wealth Order.

As part of the NCA investigation, which saw the court order served on Tuesday, the woman's property assets have been frozen which means they cannot be sold, transferred or dissipated while the probe continues.
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Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said: "This is the fourth case in which we have obtained a UWO. Our investigations are complex and involve careful consideration before we make an application before the court.

"We do not investigate illicit finance based on monetary value alone. This latest order shows that we will act against those who we believe are causing the most harm to our communities."

Sarah Pritchard, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre, added: "We are determined to identify and prioritise the cases which have the biggest impact on tackling serious and organised economic crime. Criminally obtained assets undermine the integrity of the UK's economy and institutions.

"We will use all the powers available to us to target those we suspect are trying to launder money and will explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance."

People who fail to account for their assets under an Unexplained Wealth Order are liable to have them seized following a successful application to the High Court.



(JG/CM)

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