If you are found guilty of a proceeds of crime offence, the court may make an order for confiscation of your assets. It is important to understand that a confiscation order can be extremely wide in scope – and may have long-lasting ramifications on your financial affairs.
Scope of assets
When the court imposes a confiscation order, they will typically use the term ‘property” to describe confiscated assets. However, this does not mean that the court is limited to removing residential or commercial property. An order can also include any tangible and intangible assets of value – for example, real estate, cash, digital currencies, personal items such as cars, jewellery, luxury clothing and handbags, and any other asset deemed appropriate by the court.
It is important to realise that the court also has the power to confiscate any assets in which you have a vested interest, such as a vehicle or home that you may have gifted to another party. This can happen even if the third party is not named in the confiscation order – and even if they have no knowledge of the offences under investigation.
It can be tempting for those facing investigation under proceeds of crime legislation to transfer funds outside of Australia (for example, via (international investments, bank accounts, or to another party) in order to avoid confiscation. However, doing this can have serious legal consequences. Mutual cooperation legislation gives the Australian authorities the power to engage with foreign law enforcement agencies and judicial systems to investigate unlawfully held international assets.
When to seek advice
If you are concerned that your assets are at risk of confiscation, it is critical to act quickly.
Madison Branson Lawyers’ Managing Principal Simon Tsapepas is a member of the Supreme Court of Victoria Proceeds of Crime & Confiscation List User Group.
For a confidential discussion, contact our Proceeds of Crime & Confiscation Law team today.
The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only.