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The UK FBI targets people smuggling kingpins and threatens to seize McMafia real estate portfolios


People who smuggle royal needles have been attacked by crime fighters in cases where "McMafia orders" could be used to confiscate their assets, The Mail reported on Sunday.

The National Crime Agency – known as the UK FBI – has announced that its Asset Denial division is building dozens of cases to deter organized crime from the Hydra.

The unit's head Andy Lewis said people smuggling gangs and Covid-19 scammers were on the agency's radar for the purpose of recovering assets, including large real estate portfolios.

People who smuggle royal needles are attacked by crime fighters in cases where “McMafia orders” could be used to confiscate their property. Pictured: Mansoor Hussain, who boasted of his A-list connections including Meghan Markle in 2013, washed huge sums of money for criminal networks, according to investigators

The NCA was able to seize £ 10 million in assets from Hussain, including this seven bedroom gated family home in Leeds valued at £ 1.25 million

The NCA was able to seize £ 10 million in assets from Hussain, including this seven bedroom gated family home in Leeds valued at £ 1.25 million

He promised to step up the use of UWOs (Unexplained Wealth Orders) to fight corruption, dubbed "McMafia Orders" after the successful BBC drama, to target the "so-called untouchables" of organized crime.

What is an unexplained property regime (UWO)?

A UWO – a power that came into effect in January 2018 under the so-called "McMafia Laws" – named after the BBC's organized crime drama and the book that inspired it – enables the NCA and other agencies to do that Freeze a person's assets. They can do this if they believe the owner is a "Politically Exposed Person" and they are unable to explain the source of their wealth.

When asked if the NCA is actively trying to smuggle asset seizure cases against people smuggling gangs and scammers, Lewis said, “Yes, we will use UWOs where they are the best tools.

“It could be against people who smuggle gangs, and against scammers, against anyone we have reason to believe that the property they have acquired is based on illegal behavior.

“We decide whether it is best to take civil action against them and decide whether a UWO is the best way to go. We target where it has the greatest impact.

"We're looking at dozens of cases right now, and yes, absolutely across the spectrum."

The NCA and other authorities have recorded an explosion of human trafficking gangs trying to bring people to the UK illegally.

It is estimated that more than 8,000 migrants crossed the canal this year.

UWOs were first introduced in 2018 to curb the flow of money laundered by criminal gangs and corrupt foreign officials in the UK.

They allow authorities to act in cases where criminal prosecution may not be possible and are civil orders requiring suspects to explain how they paid for assets over £ 50,000 in value.

Hussain was the director of a set production company that ran shows for Beyonce (pictured), Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls and Take That

Hussain was the director of a set production company that ran shows for Beyonce (pictured), Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls and Take That

Last month, the agency seized £ 10 million in assets from Mansoor Hussain, a jet-set businessman suspected of laundering money for drug gangs.

"It's about getting the maximum crime rate and cutting off the hydra's head," added Lewis.

“We want to be able to take the assets of the biggest criminals for our money with the biggest bang.

"From a criminal point of view, some of them are so-called untouchables who can be attacked with civilian means of recovery."

Mr. Lewis also made it clear that networks associated with bounce-back loan fraudsters could be affected by the non-prosecution orders.

The NCA received unresolved property orders last May, including a high-security mansion on Bishop & # 39; s Avenue in Hampstead, known as London's "Billionaires" Row (pictured)

The NCA received unresolved property orders last May, including a high-security mansion on Bishop & # 39; s Avenue in Hampstead, known as London's "Billionaires" Row (pictured)

However, he admitted that the anti-corruption orders were "limited in their usefulness".

The agency suffered a setback earlier this year when orders for £ 80 million in London real estate belonging to the family of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the former President of Kazakhstan, were rejected by a Supreme Court judge.

The NCA failed in its appeal against the decision of orders urging Nurali Aliyev and his mother Dariga Nazarbayeva to declare their wealth and forced the agency to settle the case against the couple.

NCA finance investigators have privately advised the Department of Defense that attacking corrupt businesspeople with access to "expensive quality controls and claims on private assets" is a "waste of time" for them.

An investigator added that the agency should continue to target "middle to high-level organized criminals" with assets but no legitimate income, where they would be more successful.

But Mr Lewis said, “We have not stopped working on PEP (Politically Exposed Persons) cases because of Aliyev's legal defeat.

Nurali Aliyev is the son of Rakhat Aliyev's ex-wife Dariga Nazarbayeva, the current chairman of the Senate in Kazakhstan and daughter of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Nurali Aliyev is the son of Rakhat Aliyev's ex-wife Dariga Nazarbayeva, the current chairman of the Senate in Kazakhstan and daughter of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev

& # 39; They (UWOs) are quite limited in their uses, things have to be just right in order for us to use them.

“Over time, criminal PEPs may take their money and invest in other jurisdictions because they don't want to be exposed to the fact that they may have assets that have been criminally derived.

'Similar to organized criminals, the hope is not just to take away assets, but to discourage others from investing their illicit profits and criminal funds in the UK

& # 39; Making the UK a safer, stronger place where money invested isn't dirty money is also a chilling effect.

“Using the example of Hussein, we suspect that he has laundered for a number of high-ranking criminals in the Leeds-Bradford area.

“These people control drug trafficking down to the street level, which has an impact on county lines and knife crime. So this is a makeover from senior money launderer to street crime.

"In terms of PEPs, one could look at how they buy high-end real estate, distort the real estate market, and increase the cost of selling real estate."

Mr Lewis also said the NCA will continue to use information from campaigning NGOs despite a judge criticizing them for relying on a Global Witness report on the Aliyev case earlier this year.

"They (NGOs) do a really good service in shedding light on areas that the public may not be aware of. They do a service to identify suspected corruption in overseas jurisdictions," he added.

“We talk to them regularly, they help us when necessary, we have a relationship for obvious reasons.

& # 39; You have access to overseas material and we will investigate that some material could not be used in court for various reasons

"It can certainly guide us in our investigation, at least in the early stages."

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