National Crime Agency -v- Baker and others [2020] EWHC 822 (Admin)


Analysts and firms conducting client due diligence should exercise care when relying on ‘adverse news’ to avoid drawing premature and ill-founded conclusions without a proper investigation of client’s source of wealth and funds.

This case and the judgment are relevant for the anti-money laundering world as it reviews tax-based and apparently opaque corporate structures and finds that they are not of themselves evidence of money laundering.

The Court discharged the orders obtained by the NCA at its first hearing.

The principal message of this judgment is that the Court will exercise its power to review carefully and forensically evidence offered by the NCA when it attempts to use this investigative power and not hesitate to discharge order[s].

In the second unexplained wealth order case to come before the Court, the order obtained by the NCA was discharged by the judge.

The order was discharged on the evidence at the first hearing before the High Court, the NCA said that it will appeal.


This case concerned the discharge by the High Court of three unexplained wealth orders [UWOs] obtained by the NCA. The related interim forfeiture orders [IFOs] were also discharged.