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NCA money laundering investigation results in multi-million-pound asset recovery

Friday 24 May 2019

The National Crime Agency (NCA) recovered around £6 million worth of assets including an award-winning luxury hotel and a £100,000 Bentley from alleged members of an international money laundering group after an eight-year investigation.

The haul was recovered from three defendants, including a practising barrister who agreed to hand over assets rather than face a 15-day trial, and associated companies.

The orders are the culmination of a complex civil recovery investigation into businessman Jonathan Nuttall, 46, of Romsey, 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.

His fortune was put in his wife’s name, Amanda Nuttall, who he shared a London flat in Belgravia costing £2,000 a week to rent. Mrs Nuttall won more than £2.5 million on the National Lottery in 2008 but could not give the NCA a consistent account of how the money was spent.

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 £100,000 Bentley Mulsanne.

Eleven properties will be handed over including the White Horse Hotel and Brasserie in Romsey and property in prime London locations.

The judge, The Hon Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE, described the NCA investigation as exemplary.

This result demonstrates the NCA’s dedication to pursuing illicit finance no matter how long it takes and reiterates the message to estate agents to ensure that they are complying and understanding their responsibilities in order to combat money laundering.

Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said: “Jonathan Nuttall amassed considerable wealth as a result of his and others’ unlawful conduct.

“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.

“The defendants were of high standing within their communities with interest in local properties and businesses. Crime most certainly has not paid in this case.”

Propertymark resources

Ignorance is no defence; you’re expected to know the law and there can be huge fines or even a prison sentence if you fail to comply. NAEA Propertymark’s AML – How to comply guide, available to members, will help people get to grips with their responsibilities. To take a look at the guide and other resources, members can login to the members area.