As Britain confiscate unexplained wealth. The case of a student from Moldova

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Как Британия конфискует необъяснимое богатство. Дело студента из Молдовы

The student millionaire from Moldova became the new hero gaining momentum campaign for the clean-up of London’s reputation Laundry for “dirty money” from all over the world. The son of the convicted former Prime Minister Vlad Filat drew attention of law enforcement when he rented the penthouse for half a million dollars, bought a Bentley in the shop and made at the expense of almost 100 thousand pounds in cash.

This week he lost almost 500 thousand pounds in the court of the city of London.

That’s all that was on his accounts with the British Bank in may last year, when the police of Britain have decided to use the new law to freeze money and to demand that the 22-year-old Luke Vlad Filat to prove that they were not acquired through criminal activities.

This law entered into force two years ago. His first victim was the wife of a banker told from Azerbaijan, which, as Filat, Sr., convicted in the homeland for embezzlement. In both cases, authorities used a new tool – the right to seek in court the confiscation of wealth of questionable origin, if the owners cannot prove that it is acquired in good faith.

At first glance all of this seems arbitrary and violated the presumption of innocence, but the devil is in the details of new laws intended to complicate the life to come in large numbers to the corrupt and criminals.

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Chic life

Как Британия конфискует необъяснимое богатство. Дело студента из МолдовыThe holder иллюстрацииGETTY IMAGES

Image captionBentley Bentayga – student’s choice

Luca Vlad Filat came to study in London in July 2016, immediately after his father received in Moldova 9 years in prison for abuse of power.

Filat Sr. called the case a “political execution” and denied any involvement in the theft of $1 billion from banks in Moldova. The loss of a giant for poor Moldova amounts led to mass protests in the country and the successive governments.

Filat, Jr., settled in the trendy area of London, the penthouse, has made him Deposit half a million dollars, bought the car for 200 thousand, led an extravagant life and bathed in luxury. Describes its National Agency for the fight against crime in the UK (NCA), which went to the court to freeze the accounts of the student.

Under the new law it is necessary to prove to the judge that the money is questionable and likely criminal origin. It was easy.

First, Filat, Jr. has not been any income in the UK. Second, the funds in his account were made either in cash or by transfers from the Cayman Islands and of Turkey. Thirdly, his father is serving a sentence for his involvement in the theft.

Как Британия конфискует необъяснимое богатство. Дело студента из Молдовы

 

Bentley and penthouse in London: the son of ex-Prime Minister of Moldova confiscated half a million pounds

The judge agreed to freeze the accounts in may 2018. By law, the freeze lasts up to two years. At this time, law enforcement agencies offer the wearer a means to prove their bona fides. If the owner cannot or does not want to make a second appeal to the court over the confiscation.

So ended the proceedings in the district magistrates court of the city of London, the NCA said, and cited the decision of judge Michael snow, to unsubscribe Treasury 466 thousand pounds (more than 600 thousand dollars) money frozen in the accounts of the Filat-Jr: “From the point of view of the balance of probabilities I agree that the source of the funds was criminal activity of his father in Moldova”.

Как Британия конфискует необъяснимое богатство. Дело студента из МолдовыThe holder иллюстрацииAFP

Image captionМолдова living a wealthy life. The average salary in the summer of 2016 was barely over $100 a month

Who is to blame?

No. New tools allow confiscation to arrest, confiscate and let the hammer of dubious wealth, not getting involved in disputes about whose fault.

It makes life easier and speeds up the process, as in civil proceedings in the district courts is sufficient evidence at the level mentioned by judge snow’s “balance of probabilities” – more likely Yes than no.

But criminal proceedings with the owners of doubtful accounts and mansions require, first, significant expenditures and time, and secondly, higher quality of evidence “leaves no reasonable doubt.”

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Hunters with dirty money is happy the opportunity.

“Orders for the freezing of accounts is a valuable tool in combating illicit Finance in the UK. If there is suspicion that funds acquired illegally, we are able to go to court and freeze, and then to confiscate the money,” said Rob MacArthur division of the NCA to combat foreign corruption.

“In this case, Luca Vlad Filat could not furnish legitimate source of funds,” he added.

Как Британия конфискует необъяснимое богатство. Дело студента из МолдовыThe holder иллюстрацииGETTY IMAGES

Image captionСудьба forfeiture in the hands of the English judges

The point in another high-profile case of the new campaign is not yet delivered. It involves another, more complex tool – a warrant requiring the owner of “unjustified wealth” to prove its legal origin. It allows to confiscate is not money, and purchased their property.

It can be discharged through the court two categories of people. The first is politicians, officials and those close to him persons from countries outside the European economic area. Those suspected of committing serious crimes in the UK or abroad.

NCA has made in court the resolution to issue debut order the wife of the former head of the International Bank of Azerbaijan Samira Hadjievo. Now she has to explain where tens of millions of dollars to buy a house in a fashionable district of London and estates to Golf chic the province.

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While in this case the score 1:0 in favor of the authorities. But in the UK any infringing upon the rights of citizens the initiative of legislative and Executive branches of government usually starts to work only after the pass through the crucible of the judicial system. There in the adversarial system the best legal minds are able to take apart and make useless any incompleted law.

This trial is far from resolution, and it runs the risk to reach the Supreme court. Once the mechanism is working, we can expect a wave of new claims. NCA Director of economic and cybercrime Donald Tong told bi-Bi-si, that they have “a lot of things, and if we talk about the next six-eight, then the objects of our attention are people from Africa, South Asia, the former USSR and Russia.”

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