LONDON (Within The Law) - The National Crime Agency has used an Unexplained Wealth Order to seize millions in property from a businessman with links to organised crime, even though he had never been convicted of a crime himself.
40-year-old Mansoor ‘Manni’ Mahmood Hussain, from Leeds, was asked to submit a 76-page statement to the NCA to explain how he built up his vast real estate empire. The evidence from this helped the NCA build an even bigger case against him.
According to the NCA, Hussein has links with a jailed murderer, an armed robber and a convicted fraudster who acted as his accountant. He ‘used threats of violence and blackmail to buy his properties.”
The Unexplained Wealth Order was introduced in January 2018 and forced any individual under investigation to explain their assets if they appear to be disproportionate to their income.
It has been hailed as a breakthrough in hunting down proceeds from illicit activities. According to Graeme Biggar, NCA Director-General of the National Economic Crime Centre, the case ‘is a milestone, demonstrating the power of Unexplained Wealth Orders, with significant implications for how we pursue illicit finance in the U.K.’
He adds that “this groundbreaking investigation has recovered millions of pounds worth of criminally obtained property. It is crucial for the economic health of local communities such as Leeds, and for the country as a whole, that we ensure property and other assets are held legitimately.”
In total, the NCA recovered £10 million in assets, the first time this has happened solely based on an individual’s alleged involvement in organised crime. The move was praised by politicians including Margaret Hodge who Tweeted that it was “fantastic to see the first Unexplained Wealth Order success story.”
These, she said, are “a vital tool in the fight against money laundering” and that law enforcement agencies “must continue to use this weapon to crack down on our dirty money crisis.”
(Written by Tom Cropper, Edited by Klaudia Fior)