Successes for Chambers in Civil Recovery Cases

Members of Chambers have represented Defendants in a recent much publicised NCA Civil Recovery case:

Martin Evans QC and Faisal Osman represented a Defendant plus 3 Defendant Companies and Barry Stancombe represented a further Defendant company.

Barry Stancombe, having already set aside a Recovery Order obtained by the NCA on a summary judgment application, successfully settled the proceedings.

Martin Evans QC and Faisal Osman obtained successful settlements for their clients, including the retention of property and the recovery of commercial lending plus interest. 

This followed an eight-year investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into an alleged money-laundering racket involving one of Europe’s most notorious drug smugglers, the Russian state and hundreds of millions of pounds. Investigators suspected that their target (not represented by Chambers) had “amassed considerable wealth” through “unlawful conduct” but had put his assets in the names of others. £6m worth of assets are now subject to a Civil Recovery Order - Eleven properties will be handed over including an award-winning boutique hotel and brasserie plus property in prime London locations.

The alleged money-laundering scheme first came to light during an NCA investigation into luxury car salesman Amir Azam, who was jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates after being convicted of drug trafficking. That investigation recovered about £4m in assets.

Recent cases have shown that upon receipt of appropriate evidence and legal representations the NCA may be prepared to reach settlements without costs rather than proceed to a fully contested trial. This more recent commercial approach by the NCA allows for the barristers at 33 Chancery Lane to utilise their specialist POCA legal knowledge and civil law expertise in order to ensure the best outcome for those facing Civil Recovery proceedings brought by the NCA or other prosecuting agencies.

New national crime fighting agency; operational by December 2013

A powerful new National Crime Agency (NCA) will 'spearhead the UK's fight against serious and organised crime, strengthen policing at the border and ensure local policing effectively links to the work of national agencies and action overseas', the Home Secretary confirmed.

Until now there has been no national overview or means of co-ordinating and focusing the law enforcement response to get to grips with the scale and complexity of the organised crime. 

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

"The impact of serious and organised crime is felt across the UK in the everyday lives of people and neighbourhoods."For too long we have lacked a strong, collaborative national response in the fight for criminal justice, with a fragmented approach to policy, prevention and investigation. It is time for a fresh start."

"By creating a powerful new body of operational crime fighters - the National Crime Agency - we will confront the serious and organised criminality that threatens the safety and security of the UK."

"The NCA will work in partnership with the police, law enforcement agencies, businesses and the public to ensure those who commit serious and organised crime are tracked down, pursued, brought to justice and their ill gotten gains are stripped away."

At the heart of the NCA will be an intelligence hub which will build and maintain a national intelligence picture of the threats, harms and risks to the UK from organised criminals. This information will be used to prioritise targets and the use of appropriate operational responses.

The NCA will employ investigators, enforcement officers, intelligence analysts and technical, financial and operational specialists. Trained officers will have police, customs and immigration powers and use the latest technology and investigative and disruption tools.

The NCA will be made up of four distinct parts or 'commands' - Organised Crime, Border Policing, Economic Crime and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). The commands will be linked to the NCA's intelligence centre which will ensure information flows to and from the police and other law enforcement agencies in support of tactical operational activity.

  • The Organised Crime Command will lead on action against organised crime groups across local, national and international borders. The Command will work with police forces and other agencies to ensure that prioritised and appropriate action is taken against each organised crime group identified.


  • The Border Policing Command will co-ordinate and set the strategy for law enforcement agencies operating at the UK border. NCA officers, the UK Border Agency, Special Branch Ports officers, the police and others will work together under a single Border Security Strategy to seize illegal goods, illegal immigrants are dealt with and networks of organised criminals more effectively targeted and disrupted both overseas and at ports in the UK.


  • The Economic Crime Command will ensure an improved capability to deal with economic crimes, including those carried out by organised criminals. It will co-ordinate effective action to tackle complex economic crime and will ensure the coherent use of resources across all national economic crime fighting agencies including the Serious Fraud Office and City of London Police.


  • The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre will retain its national role whilst benefiting from shared intelligence across the NCA. This intelligence will highlight where child exploitation and abuse links to other forms of serious organised criminality and shared enforcement resources will enable wider ranging and more effective operations. Commands will benefit from the sharing of intelligence and analytical capabilities, specialist support, investigative and enforcement resources and the drawing in and support of law enforcement agencies.