National Crime Agency Stamps on International Fraudster

In a case which vividly revealed that the National Crime Agency (NCA) is on the alert to stifle the flow of dirty money through Britain, the Court of Appeal has opened the way for the seizure of about $7 million lying in a London bank account.

The focus of the NCA’s investigation was a Turkish businessman who owned and controlled a bank in Northern Cyprus as well as a British Virgin Islands-based investment company in whose name the account was held.

The NCA argued that the source of the funds, which had been deposited between 1999 and 2005, was a series of six sophisticated international frauds, one of which related to the generation of substantial fees through the issue of false credit reference letters to clients of English firms of solicitors.

A judge made a recovery order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in respect of most, but not all, of the money in the account after finding that the businessman, who was said to use a number of aliases, was ‘a serial liar and international fraudster’. The businessman’s appeal against that decision had been stayed after he failed to put up the security required of him.

In upholding the NCA’s appeal in respect of those monies in the account which had thus far escaped seizure, the Court found that the businessman had secured loans from the London bank by misleading it as to the source of the funds. The NCA had thus established that the entire contents of the account had been unlawfully obtained.