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Serious and Organised Crime Agency v Hakki Namli and Topinvest Holding International Limited

Posted on 10/05/2013 · Posted in Criminal Cases, Expert Witness, Financial Litigation, Fraud

Confiscation of Assets Case

Hakki Yaman Namli, a Turkish national and ordinarily resident in that country, was a businessman with financial interests around the world. He owned and wholly controlled the second defendant, Topinvest Holding International. This is a company registered in the British Virgin Islands which held considerable funds in a Coutts bank account in London. The Claimant, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) tackles organised crime that affects the UK and its citizens. This might include Class A drugs, human trafficking, major gun crime, fraud, computer crime and money laundering. They have powers to recover funds which result from unlawful conduct.

SOCA on this occasion sought to obtain a Civil Recovery Order on the basis that the funds in the Coutts account (some US$7 million) represented the proceeds of the first Defendant’s unlawful conduct. SOCA contended that Mr Namli had at all material times been engaged in serious financial crime on a large scale and in several jurisdictions. He made use of another First Merchant Bank OSH Ltd (FMB) which he owned and controlled and was incorporated in Northern Cyprus. Credits made to Coutts between 1999 and 2005 were said to be the proceeds of five or six different fraudulent activities conducted variously in England, Germany, Turkey and the US.

SOCA justified this conclusion (1) on the basis that FMB conducted proven unlawful business and that Mr Namli failed to identify any legitimate source for the funds, and (2) that 5 out of the 6 credits could be shown to be specifically referable to particular criminal activities in which he was involved.

The Defendants denied unlawful conduct. Mr Namli denied that neither he nor FMB have been knowingly in any criminal activity as alleged by SOCA. He said he was a man of good character and in any case FMB had ceased operations in 2006. Furthermore the banking instruments were genuine and it was not the Defendant’s problem if FMB did not have a good reputation.

The Court had to decide “on the balance of probabilities” (as opposed to the criminal standard which is “beyond reasonable doubt”) whether or not unlawful conduct had taken place in the absence of a conviction. SOCA also had to prove that the monies in question were actually the proceeds of that unlawful activity.

After much discussion, The Hon. Mr Justice Males Of the Queen’s Bench Division in the High Court, made the civil recovery order, holding that after examining all the evidence, the Defendants had engaged in unlawful activities and therefore it was clear or appropriate to infer that the funds in question had been derived from that unlawful conduct.

Link: Serious and Organised Crime Agency v Hakki Namli and Topinvest Holding International Limited [2011] EWHC 1411 (Civ)

Link: Serious and Organised Crime Agency v Hakki Namli and Topinvest Holding International Limited [2013] EWHC 1200 (QB)

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