National Crime Agency v Azam and others

Proceeds of crime – Civil recovery of proceeds of unlawful conduct. The National Crime Agency (NCA) made a claim, pursuant to s 243(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA), for a civil recovery order concerning various properties and accounts owned by the first defendant or held in the names of various members of his family, including his wife. The main issue was whether a civil recovery order should be made in respect of two properties to which the wife contended she had a claim under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1984. The Queen's Bench Division held that the court was obliged to make an order under s 266(1) of POCA and did not have an unfettered discretion or indeed any discretion at all in respect of it. Part 5 of POCA was deliberately structured in favour of the making of a CRO once the court had determined that a particular property was 'recoverable property.'

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