Money Laundering Solicitors

Being accused of involvement in money laundering can be very worrying and confusing, with the potential for a long prison sentence if you are convicted. Our experienced money laundering solicitors have extensive expertise in handling these types of complex cases, so can give you the best possible defence from the point of arrest onwards.

In many cases, we are able to help our clients to avoid charges or secure charges being dropped. Where charges cannot be avoided, our money laundering solicitors can build the strongest possible criminal defence for money laundering on your behalf, helping you to secure an acquittal or minimise the legal consequences where this is the best available outcome.

Our money laundering solicitors speak a wide range of languages, allowing us to offer clear, effective advice to people from diverse backgrounds. We have built a reputation for securing favourable outcomes for our clients facing even the most complex and serious charges for money laundering.

When arrested, you will be offered legal representation by whichever duty solicitor is available. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to have specific experience and expertise in relation to money laundering offences, so it is strongly recommended to have a specialist money laundering defence lawyer handle your case instead. 

You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.

The sentence for money laundering can be very serious, and any mistakes made during a police interview can be very hard to recover from, so we urge you to consider contacting our money laundering solicitors as soon as possible.

  • Have you, a friend or family member been arrested for money laundering?
  • Are you required to attend a police station by appointment?
  • Have you been bailed to return to the police station?
  • Have you been charged with money laundering?

For a free initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, contact our local offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

If you have been arrested for or charged with money laundering, you can contact our money laundering solicitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate advice and representation.

Our expertise with money laundering charges

At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, we have over 45 years’ experience in advising clients who have been charged with money laundering offences. Because we have developed relationships with some of the most highly skilled criminal barristers in the UK, our criminal defence team has a strong track record of success. For example, we recently secured an acquittal for nine defendants in a money-laundering case involving the alleged conversion of millions of pounds of criminal property from various sources.

We have offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester and our money laundering lawyers can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency legal advice and representation. If you have been arrested in connection with a money laundering offence, it is crucial to contact us immediately.

Led by our partners, our team can provide 24-hour police station representation. Because anything you say or do upon arrest can affect the outcome of your criminal matter, our solicitors for money laundering provide expert advice at a crucial time, ensuring your best interests are always protected.

JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors is Lexcel accredited, meaning we meet the highest levels of management and customer care set by the Law Society of England and Wales. In addition, we were awarded the Law Society Excellence in Practice Management Award in 2012. Our expert team speak multiple languages, and we have approved external interpreters who can assist us if required. Our team provides exceptionally comprehensive money laundering defence, a claim we can support with various successful cases.

Common questions about money laundering offences

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002. The offence involves taking actions to disguise the proceeds of crime, making them appear to come from a legitimate source.

There are various methods used in money laundering.  To be convicted of a money laundering offence it will need to be shown that:

You undertook an action in relation to funds or assets (such as concealing them, disguising them, transferring them or converting them into something else).

You knew or suspected that the funds or assets represented the proceeds of a person's criminal conduct.

It is also an offence to enter into or become concerned in an arrangement which you know or suspects facilitates the acquisition, retention, use or control of property derived from criminal conduct (and which you knew or suspected derived from criminal conduct).

You do not need to have directly carried out inherently criminal activity to be charged in connection with money laundering; you merely need to have been involved in an action or actions that contributed to a money laundering scheme. So, for example, you could be charged if you bought or sold a property as part of the scheme, even though buying and selling property is perfectly legal in and of itself.

There are particular rules that apply to organisations that deal in cash such as Money Services Bureaux.  Those rules are complex and are easily breached.

Money laundering is a triable either way offence, meaning it can be tried in either a Magistrates' Court or Crown Court.

What are the primary money laundering offences in the UK?

Under the Proceedings of Crime Act (POCA), there are three primary money laundering offences. These are:

  • Concealing criminal property
  • Arrangements involving criminal property
  • Acquiring criminal property

Concealing criminal property will typically involve a person disguising or transferring criminal property, or removing a criminal property from England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. This could include actions which conceal the nature, location, source or ownership of the property and the rights connected with it.

Being concerned with any type of arrangement, where the person is aware of, or suspects, the facilitation of criminal property on behalf of another person is an offence in itself.

It is an offence for a person to acquire, use, or have possession of criminal property.

How do you prove money laundering?

For the prosecution to prove that money laundering has taken place, they will need to demonstrate that any alleged laundered proceeds are criminal property.

To demonstrates that property is ‘criminal’, the prosecutor must be able to show that:

  • The property constitutes benefit from criminal conduct or that it represents such a benefit
  • The individual alleged to have benefited knows or suspects that it constitutes such a benefit

In this context, property could include money, real estate, or other intangible or incorporeal property.

What are the penalties for money laundering?

The sentence on conviction for money laundering will depend on two factors:

  1. The financial value of the money and/or other assets involved in the offence.
  2. The role the defendant is considered to have taken in the offence.

The potential sentence for money laundering can range from a fine up to 14 years' custody.

For a category 1 money laundering offence (involving £10 million or more) the sentencing range is 3-13 years' custody.

For a category 2 money laundering offence (involving £2 million-£10 million) the sentencing range is 2-9 years' custody.

For a category 3 money laundering offence (involving £500,000-£2 million) the sentencing range is 18 months' to 8 years' custody.

For a category 4 money laundering offence (involving £100,000-£500,000) the sentencing range is 26 weeks' to 6 years' custody.

For a category 5 money laundering offence (involving £10,000-£100,000) the sentencing range is a medium level community order to 4 years' custody.

For a category 6 money laundering offence (involving less than £10,000) the sentencing range is a fine of 75-125% of your weekly income to 2 years' custody.

Can you be prosecuted if you didn't know you were involved in money laundering?

Many money laundering schemes are highly sophisticated, using a range of professionals such as accountants, estate agents and lawyers as part of their operation. In many cases, people become involved in money laundering schemes unwittingly as a result of exploitation of their legitimate services by criminals. Unfortunately, these unwitting participants will often face a sentence for money laundering when a scheme is uncovered.

If you are charged with assisting with a money laundering scheme, proving that you were unaware of the criminal activity taking place can often secure the dropping of charges.

Where it is considered that you became unwittingly involved in a money laundering scheme due to negligence on your part, e.g. failing to carry out required anti-money laundering checks, you may still face regulatory proceedings, so specialist legal advice is still essential.

What does the Prosecution have to prove in a money laundering offence?

To be convicted of acquiring, using or possessing criminal property, the Prosecution must show that the conduct from which the property derived was unlawful or that the circumstances in which the property was handled pointed to an “irresistible inference” that it would only have derived from crime.

The Prosecution must identify the crime; it is not enough to make vague allegations of criminal conduct. Our Solicitors will carefully examine the Prosecution’s case against you and swiftly identify any weaknesses in the evidence they present. From this, we can build a strong defence in your favour.

What are my rights when arrested on suspicion of money laundering?

If you are arrested for or charged with money laundering, knowing your rights is essential. This can help to ensure you do not say or do anything to unintentionally undermine your defence.

When arrested for money laundering, please remember:

  • The arresting officer must tell you what specific offence you are being arrested for
  • You do not have to answer any questions you are asked
  • You should never answer police questions without a solicitor present

When arrested for money laundering, the police are required to caution you with the following words:

"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

Following a police interview for money laundering, you may be:

  • Charged with a specific offence
  • Released under investigation
  • Released with no further action

If you are charged with a money laundering offence, you will either be released on bail or remanded in custody to await trial.

Will I be told if my assets are to be frozen under the Proceeds of Crimes Act 2002?

Assets are usually frozen without notice, via a Restraint Order, to prevent the owner from dispersing of them prior to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 being invoked. Under section 40(2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Prosecution must satisfy the court that:

  1. A criminal investigation has been launched,
  2. There is reason to believe the person affected by the order has benefited from a crime, and
  3. There is a definite risk of the assets being ‘dissipated’.

Our criminal defence lawyers can challenge a freezing order on the grounds the authorities did not make a full and proper disclosure to the Court or there is no evidence the assets are at risk of being dissipated.

Contact our money laundering lawyers now

For urgent specialist advice, immediate police station representation or to speak to us confidentially about a charge of money laundering or any other criminal matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact a member of our dedicated team of criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for money laundering charges

For immediate money laundering representation and advice, you can contact our Emergency Number:07836 577 556, and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.

Our cases

Do we offer free consultations? Read more here