Around £6m worth of assets including an award-winning luxury hotel and a £100,000 Bentley have been taken off alleged members of an international money laundering group after a National Crime Agency investigation.
The orders are the culmination of a complex eight-year civil recovery investigation into businessman Jonathan Nuttall, 46, of Romsey, Hampshire”>Hampshire.
As part of the investigation the NCA uncovered an international money laundering network that saw hundreds of millions of pounds transferred through more than 100 bank accounts held globally including in the UK, Russia, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.
The High Court endorsed consent orders agreed by the NCA and Mrs Nuttall, property developer Eric Grove, 89, of Lapworth near Solihull, and barrister Timothy Becker, 55, from, London, who between them held some of the proceeds of crime including the £100k Bentley Mulsanne.
NCA investigators, who analysed around 100,000 financial transactions, collected a vast amount of evidence of money laundering through a series of companies.
The NCA’s evidence was that it is likely that funds embezzled from the Russian state or from frauds committed in the UK were passed through these companies incorporated in countries including the UK, Russia, Austria, USA, Croatia, Seychelles and British Virgin Islands.
Sandro Stipancic and Igor Krota, two former directors of one of the companies involved in the NCA case, are under investigation in Croatia for involvement in financial irregularities at Dinamo Zagreb football club.
“He is not himself a party to the claim. That is because he structured his business affairs so that he didn’t hold any of the recoverable property himself, leaving everything in the name of his wife and others.
“Recovering assets that have been illegally obtained is a priority for the NCA and we are pleased that our commitment to this investigation into Mr Nuttall and his associates has paid off in agreeing this settlement.
Graeme Biggar, Director General of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), said: “Professional enablers such as barristers play a pivotal role in facilitating the movement and concealment of criminal finance, as seen from our many high-value investigations into illicit finance and asset denial.
“This brilliant result is part of the UK’s response to illicit finance. We will continue to be relentless in targeting criminals’ wealth regardless of where, and through whom, they choose to try to hide it.”