New Judgment: R v GH  UKSC 24
22 Wednesday Apr 2015
On appeal from:  EWCA Crim 2237
The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal by the prosecution to find that the respondents were entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement which they knew or suspected would facilitate the retention, use or control of criminal property, namely the money received into the accounts by or on behalf of B, contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s 328(1).
The Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeal on the basis that the arrangement must relate to property which was criminal property when the arrangement began to operate. It found that in this case the money was not criminal property when the arrangement began to operate on it, i.e when it was paid into the account.
The Supreme Court ruled that if s 328 of the POCA did not require property to constitute criminal property before an arrangement came into operation, it would have serious potential consequences in relation to banks and other financial institutions that are already under onerous obligations to report known, suspected or reasonably suspected money laundering. It clarified that in the present case, the character of the money – although lawful at the moment of payment – changed on being paid into the bank accounts. The money became criminal property in the hands of B by reason of the fraud perpetrated on the victims. As such, it was legitimate to regard H as entering into or becoming concerned in an arrangement to retain criminal property for the benefit of another.