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Unexplained Wealth Orders: 2022-23 Report

Volume 737: debated on Monday 18 September 2023

Today I lay before Parliament the unexplained wealth order report for the period 2022-2023. The UWO report details the number of UWOs made by the High Court in England and Wales during that period, and the number of applications made to that Court by enforcement authorities for such an order during that period.

In total, one UWO was applied for during the reporting period. This was obtained in June 2023. One other UWO was applied for since Royal Assent of the Economic Crime Transparency and Enforcement Act 2022 but before the reporting period began. This case has been adjourned to a date outside of this reporting period.

The number of UWOs applied for and obtained for the period is low but this must be understood within the wider context of the UK’s asset recovery system. Enforcement authorities have a number of powers available to them to investigate, search for and seize assets. Even a single UWO may have a high impact. A UWO used in one investigation resulted in civil recovery proceedings that led to the recovery of almost £10 million.

While law enforcement agencies remain committed to using UWOs where they will add value to an investigation, they are operationally independent from Government and cannot be tasked to use UWOs. We will continue to keep the UWO regime under review.

Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office.