Account Freezing Orders

Account Freezing Orders (AFOs) are becoming more prevalent and more frequently used in financial investigations.

This new statutory scheme was established by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA). The powers enable law enforcement officers to obtain an order from a magistrates’ court to freeze monies held in bank or building society accounts where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they have been obtained by or in return for unlawful conduct or are intended for use in unlawful conduct.

If faced with such an application, it is important to note that the test as to whether the funds are “recoverable property” is on the balance of probabilities. This lower standard of proof makes early instruction of a legal team imperative.

Cobleys have first hand experience of this area of law and have been successful in defending both English and foreign nationals faced with such applications.