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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Section 242: "Property obtained through unlawful conduct"

294.Subsection (1) explains what it means to obtain property through unlawful conduct. A person will obtain property through unlawful conduct if he obtains it:

  • by the conduct – for example by stealing it, or by obtaining it by means of dealing in illicit drugs, or

  • in return for the conduct – for example by being paid to commit murder or arson, or taking a bribe to give false evidence or corruptly award a contract.

295.The purpose of subsection (2)(a) is to ensure that property counts as having been obtained through unlawful conduct regardless of any investment in that conduct. So if a person buys illicit drugs with honestly come by money, and sells them at a profit, the whole of the proceeds of the sale will count as having been obtained through unlawful conduct, and not just the profit.

296.Subsection (2)(b) provides that it is not necessary to show that property was obtained though a particular kind of unlawful conduct, so long as it can be shown to have been obtained through unlawful conduct of one kind or another. So it will not matter, for example, that it cannot be established whether certain funds are attributable to drug dealing, money laundering, brothel-keeping or other unlawful activities, provided it can be shown that they are attributable to one or other of these in the alternative, or perhaps some combination.

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