Tag: millions

U.K. Seizes Millions in Cash, Knightsbridge Properties in First Use of Dirty Money Law

(Bloomberg) — The U.K. reached a 9.8 million pound ($12.7 million) settlement in its first successful use of a controversial power designed to crack down on dirty money.



a sign on the side of a building: LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: A general view of The National Crime Agency building in Westminster on October 7, 2013 in London, England. The NCA replaces SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which was formed in 2006. Dubbed "the British FBI", the NCA will be tasked with tackling the most serious of crimes in the UK and replaces a number of existing bodies. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


© Photographer: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 07: A general view of The National Crime Agency building in Westminster on October 7, 2013 in London, England. The NCA replaces SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which was formed in 2006. Dubbed “the British FBI”, the NCA will be tasked with tackling the most serious of crimes in the UK and replaces a number of existing bodies. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The National Crime Agency settled a so-called Unexplained Wealth Order with Mansoor “Manni” Mahmood Hussain, a Leeds businessman, the agency said Wednesday in a statement. The 40-year-old handed over more than 45 properties in London, Leeds and Cheshire, four parcels of land, and nearly 600,000 pounds in cash. The London properties include two apartments in the tony Knightsbridge neighborhood.

“This case is a milestone, demonstrating the power of Unexplained Wealth Orders, with significant implications for how we pursue illicit finance in the U.K,” Graeme Biggar, the NCA’s director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, said in a statement.

Hussain didn’t respond to several messages left with his business. The NCA accused him of using blackmail, threats of violence and ties to criminals to build his property portfolio.

The British government introduced UWOs two years ago to help stop a growing problem of criminals and dictators using the country to hide their wealth. The civil litigation tool forces people with assets of more than 50,000 pounds to prove their funds come from legitimate sources. Failure to comply with the order can allow a court to freeze the assets.

In July, a parliamentary report on Russian involvement in British politics criticized the new power. Such politically exposed persons — people who might benefit from proximity to friends and relatives in high places — can afford to fight against efforts to strip their ill-gotten assets, the lawmakers said.

While the orders appear to provide the NCA “with more clout and greater powers, the reality is that it is highly probable that the oligarchy will have the financial means to ensure their lawyers — a key group of professional enablers — find ways to circumvent this legislation,” the report said.

Earlier this year, the NCA was dealt a setback after the family of Kazakhstan’s former president overturned a freeze on the family’s 80 million-pound property portfolio. The agency has now settled the case for an undisclosed amount.

“We are just feeling our way and testing this legislation” and setbacks are “bound to happen occasionally,” Biggar told journalists.

“We will lose sometimes and there will be a cost to that but we intend to lose as rarely as possible,” he said. “We’re not going to be discouraged by the amount of money involved.”

Jonah Anderson, white collar crime lawyer at White & Case, says the breakthrough is good news after the

Continue reading

Immigration lawyer Paul Hesse disbarred after Manitoba Law Society finds he stole millions from clients

The Manitoba Law Society has disbarred Paul Hesse, stating the disgraced immigration lawyer lost over $6 million of his clients’ money through a series of schemes that saw them invest in fake or shell companies under the promise it would help them immigrate to Canada. 

Hesse had been under investigation by the law society since July 2019, when several of his former clients came forward to CBC and other media outlets, claiming he had bilked them out of their life savings.

The decision says that over a three-year period, beginning in 2016, Hesse lied to 27 different clients, almost all would-be immigrants, making false promises that cost them thousands of dollars.

“He lied, he stole, he acted in his own self-interest, he gave wrong advice and he abused his position to get his clients to lend him millions of dollars, most of which he never repaid,” the Sept. 16 law society decision says.

“Most of the 27 clients also had their hopes of immigrating to Canada thwarted.”

Last year, one client told CBC he was out $200,000 and his permanent residency application was left in limbo after transferring Hesse money to invest in a company, in order to get a work permit. The permit never materialized and Hesse told him the money was gone. 

The Law Society found Hesse guilty of 29 counts of professional misconduct through these schemes that included:

  • Advising clients to invest money in a business without disclosing his personal relationship to its owner.
  • Putting clients’ money into investments without authorization.
  • Lying to clients about their immigration status so he wouldn’t have to pay back money.
  • Advising clients to invest in shell companies.
  • Lying to clients so they would lend him money.
  • Telling clients investments would qualify them for immigration, when they were in fact “sham investments.”

“In the end, Mr. Hesse stole $3.5 million from clients and fraudulently obtained more than $3 million through lies and deceit,” said the decision.

“Most of the clients he wronged were vulnerable in that they would not have had English as their first language and they may not have had a good understanding of the Canadian legal system.”

Pitblado lawyer ‘appalled’ by actions

At the time of the misconduct, Hesse, who was also once the president of the Manitoba Liberal Party, was a partner at the Winnipeg firm Pitblado Law.

The firm and its managing partner, Benjamin Hecht, terminated Hesse’s employment on June 7, 2019, after learning about the allegations.

Hesse currently faces several civil lawsuits from his former clients, including a proposed class action against Hesse and Pitblado filed in August. 

‘We hope the law society’s decision is seen as an important step towards holding Mr. Hesse accountable,’ says Benjamin Hecht, a managing partner at Pitblado Law. (Submitted by Pitblado Law )

Hesse did not return a request for comment.

He also did not respond to any notices or correspondences by the law society, which under Court of Queen’s Bench rules is deemed an admission to the facts laid

Continue reading

UK government to invest millions on wind power, Johnson says

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged Tuesday that every home in Britain will be powered by wind energy in a decade as the government kick-starts a “green industrial revolution’’ that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.



Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London, Monday Oct. 5, 2020. They visited the startup company to promote the company's plan to create 1,000 new technology jobs across sites in London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester, and a new tech hub in Manchester. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London, Monday Oct. 5, 2020. They visited the startup company to promote the company’s plan to create 1,000 new technology jobs across sites in London, Brighton, Warwick and Leicester, and a new tech hub in Manchester. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)

In a speech to the annual Conservative Party conference, Johnson said the government would invest 160 million pounds ($208 million) in ports and factories to support production of the next generation of wind turbines. That is a tiny fraction of what it will cost to reach his goal as the U.K. currently gets about one-sixth of its electricity from wind, or enough to power 18.1 million homes, according to statistics from renewableUK, an industry association.

“There is one area where we are progressing, quite literally, with gale force speed and that is the green economy — the green industrial revolution that in the next 10 years will create hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs,” Johnson said in video address to the conference, which is being held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnson’s comments come as he tries refocus the political debate away from the government’s widely criticized efforts to battle the pandemic. COVID-19 has killed more than 42,000 people in Britain, Europe’s highest death toll, and the government on Monday was forced to launch an investigation into how almost 16,000 new coronavirus infections went unreported as a result of a technical glitch.

The continuing crisis has pushed other initiatives off the agenda, but green issues remain part of Johnson’s plans.

On Tuesday, he pledged to back a wide range of wind power projects, including “windmills that float on the sea,″ and sought to portray himself as a visionary.

“You heard me right,” he said. “Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle — the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.”

Source Article

Continue reading