Peters & Peters

Criminal Restraint & Confiscation

Restraint and confiscation proceedings can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families – and enforcement agencies are using them more and more in criminal investigations and prosecutions.

We can help reduce their impact or quash them entirely.

We are ranked in the top band for this type of work (Proceeds of Crime and Forfeiture) in the Chambers 2024, which says that “the team is active in representing clients in account freezing and cash seizure orders and also offers advice on restraint, with particular experience advising affected third parties. It is a popular choice for clients involved in high-profile, high-value and cross-border proceedings”.

A restraint order can be made against a suspect or defendant in criminal proceedings to freeze assets worldwide where the authorities believe they may be liable to confiscation following a trial.

Confiscation proceedings are brought following a conviction and enable the authorities to deprive the defendant of the financial benefit of a crime. Both Restraint and Confiscation orders can affect the interests of third parties.

We are very experienced in advising clients affected by such proceedings, and we often succeed in getting orders varied or entirely discharged. This includes several successful challenges to restraint orders made at the request of overseas authorities.

Our lawyers frequently advise on:

  • Pre-charge and post-charge restraint proceedings
  • Applications to vary or discharge restraint orders
  • Post-conviction confiscation orders

Our advice is often sought by those facing similar measures overseas, where we use our expertise to formulate and help pursue the best available strategy.

  • Peters & Peters acted for a high net worth individual based in Europe, who was subject to a tax investigation in Spain. On the request of the Spanish authorities, the UK Crown Prosecution Service obtained a restraint order over a bank account containing £10 million of the client’s assets. Following the firm’s representations, the order was dismissed.
  • Acting for one of the wealthiest individuals in the world in relation to a money laundering investigation in Switzerland, arising from the client’s prosecution for corruption in Egypt. The client’s assets were frozen in Egypt and Switzerland and he was made subject to an INTERPOL Red Notice. We secured the removal of the Red Notice, the lifting of the Egyptian asset freeze and the unfreezing of $17 million of the client’s Swiss assets.
  • We advised a wealthy former civil servant of a commonwealth country who was subject to a UK restraint order arising from an investigation into political corruption. We persuaded the Crown Prosecution Service that there was no proper evidence that the conduct under investigation was an offence in the UK. The order was discharged without the need for a contested hearing.