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Duties and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

This advice explains how operators can make sure they and their employees comply with their obligations under The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

12 - Prejudicing an investigation

Where a confiscation investigation, a civil recovery investigation or a money laundering investigation is being, or is about to be, conducted, it is a criminal offence for anyone to release information which is likely to prejudice the investigation. It is also a criminal offence to falsify, conceal, destroy or otherwise dispose of documents which are relevant to the investigation (or to cause or permit these offences).

There are a number of defences to the offence, including that the person did not know or suspect that the disclosure is likely to prejudice the investigation. The offence of prejudicing an investigation can be committed before or after a disclosure has been made.

Reasonable enquiries of a customer regarding the background to a transaction or activity that is inconsistent with the normal pattern of activity, and may be driven by social responsibility concerns, should not result in the offence of prejudicing an investigation, unless you know or suspect that an investigation is current or impending and, importantly, make the enquiries in a way that it discloses those facts.

The prejudicing an investigation offence is discussed in Prejudicing an investigation of this advice.

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