Two homes worth around £11 million each are the first to be hit by a new law that aims to tackle “McMafia” style criminals in Britain.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the £11 million London home and a mansion of similar value not far from the capital were both on “unexplained wealth orders” that it had obtained from the High Court.
The orders require the owner of the homes to show that they were bought with money from a legitimate source. If he is unable to do so, both will be seized.
It is the first time that unexplained wealth orders have been issued and comes only weeks after legislation allowing them to be obtained came into force.
Anti-corruption campaigners have claimed that London property worth hundreds of millions of pounds has been bought with “dirty money” in recent decades. The recent BBC drama “McMafia” has further highlighted the problem.
Full details of the homes targeted have not been disclosed. The identity of their alleged owner will remain confidential while the court process continues, but it is believed he holds the properties via associates, according to the Evening Standard.
The NCA has obtained freezing orders which prevents either home being sold until the High Court has ruled on the source of the money used to buy them.
The NCA stated: “The NCA has secured two unexplained wealth orders to investigate assets totalling £22 million that are believed to ultimately be owned by a ‘politically exposed person’. These are the first such orders granted and represent the first time the legislation will be tested through the court.”
Unexplained wealth orders were introduced under the Criminal Finances Act passed by Parliament last year.