342Offences of prejudicing investigation
(1)This section applies if a person knows or suspects that an appropriate officer or (in Scotland) a proper person is acting (or proposing to act) in connection with a confiscation investigation, a civil recovery investigation or a money laundering investigation which is being or is about to be conducted.
(2)The person commits an offence if—
(a)he makes a disclosure which is likely to prejudice the investigation, or
(b)he falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of, or causes or permits the falsification, concealment, destruction or disposal of, documents which are relevant to the investigation.
(3)A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2)(a) if—
(a)he does not know or suspect that the disclosure is likely to prejudice the investigation,
(b)the disclosure is made in the exercise of a function under this Act or any other enactment relating to criminal conduct or benefit from criminal conduct or in compliance with a requirement imposed under or by virtue of this Act, or
(c)he is a professional legal adviser and the disclosure falls within subsection (4).
(4)A disclosure falls within this subsection if it is a disclosure—
(a)to (or to a representative of) a client of the professional legal adviser in connection with the giving by the adviser of legal advice to the client, or
(b)to any person in connection with legal proceedings or contemplated legal proceedings.
(5)But a disclosure does not fall within subsection (4) if it is made with the intention of furthering a criminal purpose.
(6)A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2)(b) if—
(a)he does not know or suspect that the documents are relevant to the investigation, or
(b)he does not intend to conceal any facts disclosed by the documents from any appropriate officer or (in Scotland) proper person carrying out the investigation.
(7)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (2) is liable—
(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both, or
(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine or to both.
(8)For the purposes of this section—
(a)“appropriate officer” must be construed in accordance with section 378;
(b)“proper person” must be construed in accordance with section 412.