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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Section 308: General exceptions

430.Section 308 constitutes a limitation on the enforcement authority’s ability to follow and trace property; the exceptions set out here also apply to the forfeiture provisions in Chapter 3. Section 304 provides that where, for example, someone is given a yacht in return for a contract killing, and then sells the yacht, the authority may follow the yacht into the hands of the purchaser and recover it from him. Under subsection (1) of this section, if the purchaser paid full value for the yacht, and was unaware of its unlawful provenance, the authority is not entitled to recover it from him or from anyone else who may subsequently acquire it. The fact that the yacht has ceased to be recoverable property, however, does not prevent the proceeds of the sale of the yacht representing property obtained through unlawful conduct, and themselves being recoverable (subsection (10)).

431.Subsection (2) ensures that property ceases to be recoverable following successful civil recovery or cash forfeiture proceedings or following disposal in accordance with Part 5 powers. For example, if property is sold by an interim receiver or interim administrator in the exercise of his powers, although it may still be ‘property obtained through unlawful conduct’, or representative of such property, it will not be recoverable in the hands of the recipient and may be recycled in the market in the ordinary way.

432.Subsections (3) to (7) set out other circumstances in which property will cease to be recoverable: for example, where a payment is made following a compensation or restitution order under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, and the sum or property received would otherwise be recoverable; where a claimant obtains property from a defendant in civil proceedings which are based on the defendant’s unlawful conduct, and the property would otherwise be recoverable; where an amount is paid in accordance with a restitution order made by a court under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and that amount would otherwise be recoverable; and where restitution is required to be made by the Financial Services Authority under that Act paying an amount which would otherwise be recoverable.

433.Subsections (8) and (9) serve to exclude property from civil recovery if such property is already the subject of a restraint order, or has been taken into account in making a criminal confiscation order.

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