Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.
vintage safe | accountingweb | reseizure of cash was lawful
iStock_vtt_studio_safe

HMRC stars in all-action proceeds-of-crime case

by

This case involving safe breaking, a race against the clock and around £400,000 in cash had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster – with HMRC in the lead role.

30th Jan 2024
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Most of us are aware of HMRC’s ability to seize cash under the authority of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). But what about reseizure? This obscure issue was examined in December in the judicial review case of Kingdom Corporate Ltd (KCL).

On 16 January 2023 HMRC searched the business premises of KCL under s289 of POCA. A director of the company failed to inform HMRC of a hidden safe and, when officers discovered it, stated that: 

  • there was no money in it
  • he did not have the keys as someone had stolen the keys from his bag years ago 
  • the safe was last opened in 2006.

HMRC summoned a locksmith, who drilled a hole in the safe, revealing “large wads of banknotes”. At this point the director miraculously produced the missing key. The safe was then opened and found to contain “approximately £350,000 in cash and foreign currency of a further £50,000 or thereabouts”. HMRC seized the cash at 5:38 on Monday afternoon.

48-hour time limit

POCA s.294 authorises HMRC to seize cash that is reasonably suspected of being “recoverable property”, including property obtained through unlawful conduct or intended for use in unlawful conduct.

HMRC can initially hold onto the cash for a period of 48 hours (s295), which would expire at 5:38pm on Wednesday 18 January.

Register for free to continue reading

It’s 100% free and provides unlimited access to the latest accounting news, advice and insight every day. As well as access to this exclusive article, you can:


Content lock down, tick icon

View all AccountingWEB content


Content lock down, tick icon

Comment on articles


Content lock down, tick icon

Watch our digital shows and more

Access content now

Already have an account?

Replies (16)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Justin Bryant
30th Jan 2024 13:31

This is quite funny given one of the examples why the strict 48 hour time limit may be breached was the judge getting stuck in the lift.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Justin Bryant:
avatar
By Andy Keates
30th Jan 2024 16:05

I know! Hilarious, isn't it. The usher losing the courtroom key aws another gem.

What was also interesting was Bean LJ's highly perceptive comment that "while there is no suggestion of time-wasting in the present case, the prospect of an unscrupulous advocate trying to run down the clock may not be entirely fanciful."

Thanks (2)
Replying to Andy Keates:
avatar
By Latinaid
31st Jan 2024 12:47

Andy Keates wrote:

I know! Hilarious, isn't it. The usher losing the courtroom key aws another gem.

What was also interesting was Bean LJ's highly perceptive comment that "while there is no suggestion of time-wasting in the present case, the prospect of an unscrupulous advocate trying to run down the clock may not be entirely fanciful."

I now have visions of Vinnie Gambini doing exactly this.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Latinaid:
avatar
By johnjenkins
31st Jan 2024 13:51

A case of mistaken identity.
Perhaps they did get the wrong safe. The one they were looking for had pictures of Andrew and Virginia. Quite what that's got to do with HMRC I'm not sure but it fits in with the film stuff.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By johnjenkins
31st Jan 2024 10:16

Great, HMRC do a great job then nearly get let down by the system. Welcome to our world HMRC.

Thanks (2)
7om
By Tom 7000
31st Jan 2024 10:19

400k in cash in a safe...
How could you ever spend it....

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tom 7000:
avatar
By SafeAsHouses
31st Jan 2024 11:27

Umm quite easily. Holidays and holiday spending money, paying builders or trades people, groceries, filling the car with petrol, eating out, the list goes on.. it might last a few years and lose a bit to inflation in that time but I don't suppose anyone with 400k in illgotten gains worries too much about that.

Thanks (0)
Replying to SafeAsHouses:
avatar
By johnjenkins
31st Jan 2024 11:44

More likely a Christmas hamper club savings. Have you seen the price of really good hampers?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By hyper10
31st Jan 2024 10:23

It's depressing that the I could bet a pound to a penny who the star player would be and I collected.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Andy Hull
31st Jan 2024 10:57

Wonderful. Mrs Justice Tipples sounds like a character from a "Carry On" film

Thanks (0)
Replying to Andy Hull:
avatar
By johnjenkins
31st Jan 2024 11:24

How about a series. The HMRC files - dodododododododo

Thanks (0)
avatar
By farrcorfe
31st Jan 2024 11:34

The crooked director had at least three other companies inc. Shift Financial Services (as in shifting money maybe?). Maybe his next criminal venture will be with a new company - Fly By Night Ltd perhaps?

Thanks (1)
avatar
By why always me
31st Jan 2024 11:49

As much as 'morally' keeping the clearly ill gotten gains is the 'right' thing to do, what is the point of a tight time limit if HMRC fail to meet it and can start the clock again
Sounds like the courts trying to do the 'right' thing but maybe not letter of the law, which sounds like how hmrc normally operate!!

Thanks (0)
Donald MacKenzie
By Donald MacKenzie
31st Jan 2024 12:54

The 48 hour lmit is far too short when dealing with HMRC and courts. Imagine if HMRC found cash on a Friday afternoon. Not going to get a court to sit over the weekend for that.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Donald MacKenzie:
By mydoghasfleas
31st Jan 2024 13:07

That's so true, HMRC is barely capable of responding to a phone call in that timeframe

Thanks (2)
Replying to Donald MacKenzie:
David Winch
By David Winch
31st Jan 2024 13:42

Donald MacKenzie wrote:

The 48 hour lmit is far too short when dealing with HMRC and courts. Imagine if HMRC found cash on a Friday afternoon. Not going to get a court to sit over the weekend for that.


PoCA clocks don't run on weekends or Bank Holidays. "48 hours" is defined by the statute!
David
Thanks (0)