(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s National Crime Agency is using a brand new tool to investigate how a high-profile suspect obtained two properties worth 22 million pounds ($30 million).
A judge granted so-called unexplained wealth orders on the two properties, one in London and one in south east England, meaning that the owners have to explain how they obtained them, the NCA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The orders, which came into effect last month, could potentially turn policing on its head. The onus is no longer on the police to prove that an asset above the value of 50,000 pounds was obtained illegally, but on the owner to show that it’s legitimate.
“Unexplained wealth orders have the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the U.K. as a destination for illicit income,” said Donald Toon, the NCA’s director of economic crime. “They enable the U.K. to more effectively target the problem of money laundering through prime real estate in London and elsewhere.”
The NCA orders are the first of their kind, but the agency didn’t identify the suspect. While the case is investigated, the houses can’t be sold or transferred.
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