Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland woman served with 'McMafia' wealth order in £3.2m property probe

The National Crime Agency served the order on Tuesday. (National Crime Agency/PA)
The National Crime Agency served the order on Tuesday. (National Crime Agency/PA)

A Northern Ireland woman has been served with a so-called "McMafia" wealth order demanding she explain how she was able to buy six properties worth around £3.2m.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) believes the woman has links to serious organised crime, including criminals involved in paramilitary activity and cigarette smuggling.

On July 24, the NCA secured an Unexplained Wealth Order against the woman, which was served on Tuesday.

These so-called 'McMafia' laws - named after the BBC organised crime drama - are seen as a way of making wealthy figures account for their luxury lifestyles.

The NCA investigation centres on six properties owned by the woman, who now lives in London.

Four of the properties are in London, while two are in Northern Ireland.

Courts orders have also been issued to ensure the properties cannot be sold and transferred to other parties while the investigation is ongoing.

Andy Lewis, Head of Asset Denial at the NCA, said the investigation is the fourth case for which they have obtained an Unexplained Wealth Order.

"We do not investigate illicit finance based on monetary value alone. This latest order shows that we will act against those who we believe are causing the most harm to our communities," he said.

Sarah Pritchard, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre, said: “We are determined to identify and prioritise the cases which have the biggest impact on tackling serious and organised economic crime. Criminally obtained assets undermine the integrity of the UK’s economy and institutions.

“We will use all the powers available to us to target those we suspect are trying to launder money and will explore every opportunity to deny assets linked to illicit finance.”

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