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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Customer information orders
Section 363: Customer information orders

521.A customer information order requires all (or a targeted sample of) banks and other financial institutions to provide details of any accounts held by the person who is the subject of a confiscation or money laundering investigation. The order can also apply to persons who appear to hold property that is subject to a civil recovery investigation.Section 369(7) requires the prior authorisation of a senior appropriate officer before an appropriate officer can make an initial or variation application for a customer information order. This mirrors the approach taken for restraint order applications in confiscation proceedings (see section 42 read with section 68). An appropriate officer who is also a senior appropriate officer can apply for the order and variations himself without requiring further and separate authorisation. Section 378 sets out who is a senior appropriate officer in the three types of investigation. As with disclosure orders, a person may require the person serving a notice given under the order to demonstrate that they have the authority they claim. Again, it is envisaged that a copy of the original customer information order will be provided.

Section 364: Meaning of customer information

522.This section sets out the definition of “customer information” for individuals and for companies and partnerships. Subsections (2)(f) and (3)(i) require financial institutions to produce evidence of identity obtained in compliance with the relevant existing legislation, currently the Money Laundering Regulations 1993 [SI 1993 No.1933]. By virtue of section 459(6), any order made by the Secretary of State under subsection (4) to extend the meaning of “customer information” will have to be laid before, and approved by a resolution of, both Houses of Parliament.

Section 366: Offences

523.As with the disclosure order, there are two offences connected with customer information orders. As the sanctions are directed at non-compliant institutions rather than an individual they are solely financial. The maximum penalties are a level 5 fine (currently £5000) for non-compliance and an unlimited fine for knowingly or recklessly making a false or misleading statement.

Section 367: Statements

524.Like the disclosure order, a customer information order requires an institution to divulge information. This section sets out the standard conditions on the use of such information to prevent information obtained under compulsion from being used against the financial institution in criminal proceedings against it (subject to certain limited exceptions) (see section 360).

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