Challenging the UK’s National Crime Agency

The UK’s National Crime Agency was defeated in the Supreme Court and forced into a humiliating climb down when our team became involved in defending an individual.

Challenge

Israel Perry, an Israeli citizen, found his worldwide assets frozen by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and turned to Asserson. The NCA alleged that his assets derived from a complex pension fraud and that NCA was entitled to freeze his worldwide assets pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act. The NCA subsequently brought what is believed to be the UK’s largest civil recovery claim against Mr Perry for sums NCA estimated to be in excess of £100 million.

Inspiration

Asserson considered that the freezing and disclosure orders obtained by the NCA lacked jurisdiction under the Proceeds of Crime Act. We challenged jurisdiction and after appealing the negative decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal, we succeeded in discharging the orders in two victories before a nine member Supreme Court, one case winning 7/2 and the other winning 9/nil. We also persuaded the English Court to convene itself in Israel to take an early deposition of Mr Perry who could not travel.

Result

Following its defeat in the Supreme Court, NCA persuaded Parliament to change the law to enable NCA to seize Mr Perry’s overseas assets. Notwithstanding that change in the law, the effect of Mr Perry’s evidence at the deposition in Israel, combined with a successful application to order NCA to give further details of its claim, led to a humiliating climb down by the NCA. It discontinued its civil recovery claim and had indemnity costs awarded against it.

Asserson subsequently brought a compensation claim against NCA in damages which resulted in an out of court settlement and an order for further costs to be paid to Asserson’s clients.

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