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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Buyer must explain how she bought six properties worth £3.2m

A Northern Irish woman with suspected links to serious organised crime has been ordered to explain how she financed the purchase of six properties worth £3.2m in total.

The National Crime Agency believes the woman is associated with criminals involved in paramilitary activity and cigarette smuggling.

Details of the Unexplained Wealth Order, which was obtained at the High Court two weeks ago, have now been revealed following the serving of the order. 

The order is part of the NCA investigation into properties owned by the woman who now lives in London. Four of the properties are located in the capital and two are in Northern Ireland.

Interim Freezing Orders have also been granted which means that these properties cannot be sold, transferred or dissipated while the investigation continues.

Andy Lewis, head of asset denial at the NCA, says: “This is the fourth case in which we have obtained a UWO. 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”.

Sarah Pritchard, director of the National Economic Crime Centre, adds: “Criminally obtained assets undermine the integrity of the UK’s economy and institutions. We will use all the powers available to us to target those we suspect are trying to launder money and will explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance.”

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