The UK’s National Crime Agency has ordered a Northern Irish woman with suspected links to paramilitary criminals to reveal how she bought six properties worth about £3.2m.
The agency has placed interim freezing orders on the properties, and secured an unexplained wealth order (UWO) to investigate how the woman bought the six properties, which includes four in London and two in Northern Ireland.
Andy Lewis, head of asset denial at the NCA, said: “Our investigations are complex and involve careful consideration before we make an application before the court.
“We do not investigate illicit finance based on monetary value alone. This latest order shows that we will act against those who we believe are causing the most harm to our communities.”
The NCA believe she is associated with people involved in cigarette smuggling. She now has to, under court order, explain how she financed these properties.
If someone has over £50,000 worth of unexplained assets and their income appears insufficient, the NCA can use the UWO to ask them to explain how they can afford it. This is only the fourth case of a UWO in the UK.