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Important Money Laundering Update: New 4th EU AML Directive Announced

A new 4th EU AML Directive has been announced. This new directive concerns the following:

  • identify beneficial owner of companies;
  • more information accompanying fund transfers;
  • clear mechanisms for identifying beneficiaries who would previously have been anonymous;
  • expanding provisions for dealing with PEPs (politically exposed persons) in Europe;
  • provisions governing the entire gambling sector and not just casinos; and
  • calls for greater co-operation between national financial intelligence units.

This new directive has to be formerly ratified but is very important for AML compliance.

Contact Siobhain Egan for further advice.

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How secure are your guns? Top ten tips for keeping your guns secure.

How secure are your guns? Our firearms solicitor Laura Saunsbury offers her top ten tips for security of your guns while travelling. The article is to be featured in the March Edition of “Pull!”, the official monthly magazine of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association.

The importance of good security measures, both in your own home and when travelling, should never be underestimated. Not only can it prevent theft of or unauthorised access to your guns, but it can help avoid other unanticipated consequences such as the revocation of your shotgun certificate.

UK Firearms Certificate

It should be remembered that it is a specific condition of your certificate to store your guns securely at all times so as to prevent access to them by unauthorised persons.

The usual requirement to lock them away securely does not apply while your guns are in use or being repaired, or if they are in transit for such purposes.That said, you are still under an obligation to take reasonable precautions for the safe custody of your guns and ammunition. If the police take the view that you have been sloppy in your attitude to security while travelling around with them and should have taken greater care, they may use that as a reason to revoke your certificate. The police may even prosecute you as well if they are feeling particularly churlish, as breach of any of the conditions on your certificate is a criminal offence.

With that in mind, there are a number of precautions I would recommend which should go a long way to minimising if not completely eliminating the risk of your guns being interfered with while in transit:

1. If you travel regularly and/or long distances with your guns, consider investing in some in-car security for your guns. A wide variety of different in-car security solutions is available to suit differing needs and budgets, ranging from specially designed safes and security cages similar to those used for dogs in vehicles through to steel cable locks or clamps.

2. Wherever possible, ensure that any such security device is bolted to the structure of the vehicle, make sure you actually use it and never leave the keys to the security cable or other device in the unattended vehicle.

3. For those of you who travel less frequently with your guns, specially designed security equipment may be an expense that is not warranted. However, you should at all times (including when you are in the vehicle) stow your guns and ammunition well out of sight so that they are not visible to the casual passer-by. Furthermore, always be careful when you leave your vehicle unattended to ensure you leave nothing on view such as empty gun slips, ammunition bags, other accessories or even branded clothing which could identify the owner of the vehicle as a shooter.

4. If you need to leave your guns in the vehicle for a short period, partially disassemble each of your shotguns so as to remove the fore-end or stock and, wherever possible, carry that part of each gun on your person. If this is not practical in the particular circumstances, at least conceal the part you have removed elsewhere in the vehicle so as to keep it separate from the rest of the gun.Think ahead and, if you anticipate having to make breaks in your journey, carry out any removal of gun parts and separate stowage at home before you set out rather than in full view in a crowded motorway service station car park. If you are travelling in company, take it in turns to visit the facilities when you break your journey wherever possible rather than leaving the vehicle unattended.

5. Never leave your guns in your car overnight, no matter how sophisticated the alarm system, immobiliser, tracking device etc. on your vehicle and/or any additional security provisions you have installed for your guns. Remember, whatever has been invented by man can be defeated by man. Even if the experienced car thief who managed to break into your car during the night was unaware of the hidden bonus inside it, if he then drives off with your car and guns as well, you are going to have some serious explaining to do to your firearms enquiry officer.

6. Before booking accommodation for an overnight stay, investigate what storage facilities the hotel or other establishment can offer for your guns. If they are not used to catering for shooting guests, explore with the shooting ground where you are going to be  competing if they can offer you overnight storage facilities. Depending on the volume of people competing at the event, this may or may not be feasible.

7. In the absence of special gun storage facilities in the hotel or at the shooting ground, take sufficient portable locking devices with you to make your own temporary arrangements. Bring your guns into the hotel room and put them out of sight as far as possible while locking them to an immovable object in the room such as a radiator or the frame of the sturdiest piece of furniture in the room, again removing the stock or fore-end. An opportunist thief or dishonest member of hotel staff is far less likely to be tempted to be light fingered with your shotgun if they’ve got to make off with the radiator or washstand as well.

8. When carrying your guns to and from your car, always keep them well covered – preferably in a gun slip. Be attentive as to whether you are being observed by anyone and be particularly vigilant when in more crowded public places.

9. For the same reason that I advised you to avoid leaving any gun slips or accessories on view, consider carefully before being tempted to advertise your pastime by posting big stickers in the windows of your vehicle promoting your favourite cartridge or gun brand. Clever thieves are good at spotting the smallest clues signalling where they might find the type of thing they are after.

10. Similarly, be suitably discreet when in public places about being a gun owner in terms of what you do and say, rather than advertising it to all and sundry. While you may be proud of your latest acquisition, don’t stand there showing it off to your friends or even talking about it in a loud voice while in a public venue such as a pub car park after the shoot. If your vehicle then gets targeted while you are enjoying your lunch, you may regret it.

The above is intended to be merely some general guidelines as to sensible security provisions when travelling away from home. There can be no hard and fast rules, as you will need to weigh up in the particular situation what is necessary or reasonable and the best option of the various alternatives available to you. If you have any concerns about whether your proposed security arrangements are adequate, you may wish to discuss it with your local licensing officer. If you have followed their advice, you can hardly then be criticised if a problem arises.

If you have any queries regarding UK firearms law, please contact Laura Saunsbury, Lewis Nedas Solicitor and Honorary Solicitor for the CPSA


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Freezing Orders: A Nuclear Weapon For Litigators?

Lord Donaldson, when he was Master of the Rolls in the mid-1980’s, described the drastic nature of a freezing injunction as being, “one of the law’s two nuclear weapons,” the other being an Anton Pillar Order or Search Order.

The freezing order itself, if obtained successfully, could serve as an early “knockout blow,” within litigation against a party, who would ordinarily attempt to evade the enforcement of a judgement obtained against them. This form of interim relief represents an important tool within the armoury of a commercial litigator; a supplementary remedy granted to protect the efficacy of proceedings, domestic or foreign.

A freezing order is an interlocutory injunction, which restrains a respondent from disposing of or dealing with his own assets. The purpose of a freezing order is to prevent a defendant from moving, hiding or otherwise unjustifiably dissipating his assets so as to render himself as immune from the enforcement of judgement.A freezing order is not a proprietary remedy.

They are not granted to give a claimant advance security for his claim; although in practice, they may have that effect.  They are not an end in themselves. They are a supplementary remedy, granted to protect the efficacy of court proceedings, domestic or foreign.
Originally, a freezing order was only obtainable in support of litigation brought within England & Wales. These days, a freezing order is often obtained in support of foreign litigation, even in cases where the primary court where the litigation is proceeding would not have a similar power to grant a freezing order (e.g. Switzerland , USA etc.). In 2002, Moor Bick J referred to the jurisdiction as enabling the English Court to act as an “international policeman”.
To obtain a freezing order, the applicant must establish:

  1. A good arguable case;
  2. A real risk that the respondent will dissipate his assets if the order is not given; &
  3. That the respondent has assets and (where a worldwide freezing order is sought) that the known assets within the jurisdiction would be insufficient to meet the claim if successful.

Applications for freezing injunctions are often made at short notice, with limited time to prepare. Accordingly it is important to instruct solicitors, who are able to plan properly to ensure that they can deal with the evidence and documents as efficiently as possible.
Here at Lewis Nedas, we are regularly instructed on behalf of private and commercial clients, who have secured or are in the process of securing judgements against a defendant/s, only to discover that there is a real risk that any assets that the defendant /s may have is at a real risk of dissipation. Also, in circumstances where a fraud has been committed and one wishes to ensure that the fraudster does not remove stolen monies from the victim’s reach, a freezing order may be the answer.

The interim relief afforded by a freezing order are usually utilised by individuals, companies, employers, hedge funds and brokerages, who are engaged in complex commercial disputes or have been the victims of fraud. Investors, who risk their assets on the stock market and in unregulated schemes together with companies, who look to transfer their assets to a parent company offshore, seek the protection of a freezing order as ammunition to support their claim.

At Lewis Nedas, we see it as being imperative that the correct steps are taken to protect our clients’ interest. At times, this has warranted the use of a formidable weapon such as the freezing order, in order to put tactical pressure upon a defendant whilst taking into account the strategic considerations of commercial litigation.

For advice on any of the above, contact Jeffrey Lewis and Jasbir Kaur on 020 73872032.

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Jail for anti-snoring VAT fraudster

A pensioner from Leeds who set up more than 26 fictitious companies to supposedly sell anti-snoring devices was jailed earlier this month for VAT fraud.

According to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), over the course of four years, 68-year-old Anthony Van Jeffery Newton made over 100 false claims for VAT refunds. He used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including taking expensive holidays and maintaining a luxury apartment in one of Spain’s most sought after golf resorts.

Newton was caught after HMRC officers found that a significant number of his company registrations were linked to the same product - an anti-snoring device called “The Snorestopper”.

Officers discovered that all of Newton’s businesses were bogus and had been set up solely to steal tax. He had registered company names to mailbox addresses in Wakefield, London and Leeds, but was living at his luxury apartment in Marbella.

When HMRC challenged Newton he supplied a range of invoices and receipts showing thousands of pounds of business purchases and expenditure. However, officers discovered that these documents were not only false but that Newton had hijacked the identities of innocent people, using them to set up fraudulent companies.

Newton fraudulently received around £147,000 in VAT refunds and attempted to claim a further £143,000. He was arrested at his home in Leeds in April 2012 and was later charged with cheating the Public Revenue, contrary to common law.

He has been sentenced to two years imprisonment and was disqualified as a company director for six years.

For legal advice from our solicitors in London regarding VAT fraud and defending yourself from VAT fraud prosecutions or investigations, please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032.

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Fraudsters up to Old Tricks, finds KPMG

While rogue traders and professional criminals have been behind the fraud ‘super’ cases seen in recent years, the latest bi-annual ‘Fraud Barometer’ from KPMG has shown a rise in individuals committing more traditional scams such as Ponzi schemes, cheque fraud and procurement fraud.

The analysis shows that identity fraud more than doubled in value to £26.3 million from £12.3 million the year before. Counterfeit goods fraud was three times the five-year average at £22.9 million and Ponzi schemes worth £72 million came to court – again three times the level seen in 2011 (£20 million).

The data shows a similar rising trend for procurement fraud, which increased to £21.4 million in 2012, and also that insider fraud is hitting corporates hard.

Fraud perpetrated by either management or employees accounted for 80% of the financial loss through fraud experienced by UK businesses in 2012. The number of cases involving employee fraud rose to 35 in 2012, up from 22 the year before. Their value has also seen a sharp climb, more than doubling from £12 million in 2011 to £25.1 million over the past 12 months.

There was also a marked increase in cases involving individuals over-claiming benefits or evading tax (15 cases compared to 3 in 2011).

“What we are seeing is individuals looking to feather their nests through ripping off employers, banks or the government,” said Hitesh Patel, UK Forensic Partner at KPMG. “In the last few years we have become used to sophisticated frauds at eye-watering values. While the total value of fraud has dropped substantially in the absence of so-called fraud ‘super’ cases, the old-fashioned con man hasn’t given up his tricks. Times may be tough but the data shows that some people are unwilling to give up the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed to.”

Contact our Fraud Defence Lawyers

If you are the subject of a false allegation regarding fraud and need one of our fraud defence solicitors to help you defend your case, please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan or view our fraud defence services page.

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