On 20 May, a briefing from Stewarts said that Account Freezing Orders (AFRO) and Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO) were introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017. External Requests and Orders (ERO) are designed to provide other countries’ financial crime-linked court orders with powers similar to an AFRO. It is said that while ERO have yet to be tested in court, what has become clear during the past 12 months is that law enforcement agencies are increasingly willing to use the new domestic powers in the CFA to investigate and recover the proceeds of crime. The ERO framework broadly replicates the AFRO, Account Forfeiture Order (AFOO) and Account Forfeiture Notice (AFN) framework, but some notable differences exist and the briefing examines these. It is said that the new rules fill a void between the Civil Procedure Rules and the Criminal Procedure Rules, providing a procedure for foreign governments to apply to the UK courts to freeze and subsequent forfeit criminal assets.
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