Property investor forced to hand over £2m to law enforcement agencies

A property investor accused of fraud and cannabis cultivation has been forced to hand over almost £2m to law enforcement agencies.

Richard Leahy, a landlord and property developer from Orpington, was accused by law enforcement agencies of raising money for his property acquisitions through cannabis cultivation, benefit fraud and money laundering.

The agency had also claimed the 56-year-old had engaged in tax evasion and mortgage fraud during more than 15 years of criminal activity.

A civil recovery order, which provides for the recovery of property purchased via crime, was made by consent last month by the High Court in London.

The order relates to three London properties and £1.13m in cash in a bank account.

It comes after a settlement agreement between the NCA, Leahy and 12 other defendants, which were companies owned by or associated to the property tycoon.

In 2017, the NCA secured a property freezing order from the High Court over residential and commercial properties in south London and Kent belonging to Leahy or his companies.

A claim for civil recovery was lodged in November 2018.

In April 2020, Leahy applied to discharge the property freezing order but his application was dismissed by a High Court judge.

Andy Lewis, head of civil recovery at the NCA, commented: “This is a great result, recovering nearly £2m that will go back into the public purse and be used to help fight criminal activity.

“Settlements in civil cases offer good value to the tax payer, avoiding often lengthy and costly legal battles while freeing up our investigators and legal team to pursue other casework.”

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