Originating from 8th century South Asia, hawala banking is used all over the world, particularly by the South Asian community as a funds transfer system. As opposed to using bank wire transfers, money is transferred through a network of hawala dealers, known as hawaladars.
Keeping a journal to record credit and debit transactions, hawala dealers settle their debt and financial differences using cash, services or property. Any hawala participant who does not keep his end of the agreement will be tagged as being without honour and may be ex-communicated from the network or region.
Although hawala banking is not illegal in the UK, it does have to comply with the regulations in England and Wales.
If you’ve been involved in a hawala banking transaction that has not complied with regulations and have received allegations of money laundering or funding terrorist groups, it’s essential to seek competent advice from experienced money laundering solicitors immediately.
Hawala banking fraud investigations can be upsetting and stressful. As soon as you receive a letter from the authorities or the police have contacted you, it’s vital to take the advice of a lawyer.
If possible, we will stop the case from progressing to court. Your calls and emails will be responded to by our experienced team and you will get the support that you need.
More About Hawala Banking
Hawala banking provides a service for migrant workers to send remittances to their family in their country of origin. The system makes it possible to avoid paying the fees of formal bank transfers. Hawala banking provides a convenient, fast and affordable alternative to traditional banking. In some cases, hawala banking dealers will allow senders to transfer money without any fees needing to be paid.
The hawala banking system is built on honour, trust and relationships that are either family based or regional.
With hawala banking being an excellent way for legitimate expats to send money to those back at home, it’s also a form of underground banking. Providing an anonymous route and without a paper trail to understand the source of funds, it becomes an attractive means for money launderers and terrorists to transfer money from one country to another. It’s also a way for corrupt politicians and those who prefer to evade taxes to keep their wealth and financial activities in the dark.
In some countries, hawala banking is illegal due to the lack of a paper trail and bureaucracy.
Have you been arrested or charged with Hawala Banking?
If you or somebody close to you has been charged or arrested in connection to hawala banking, you will probably be feeling very stressed, confused, worried and concerned about what’s going to happen.
What type of actions are considered illegal in Hawala Banking?
Here are some examples of hawala banking that may have led to the situation at hand.
Sending money to fund terrorist groups – hiding behind the anonymity of hawala banking to send money to terrorist groups is considered to be illegal.
Money laundering – hawala banking can be used to launder money.
In some cases, your transactions may have been legitimate. The best response to being accused of illegal transactions is to take the advice of a competent and experienced hawala banking lawyer or a money laundering solicitor.
What happens in a Hawala Banking investigation?
When a hawala banking investigation takes place, it can be a very worrying time. If you have been arrested, you may worry that you won’t be able to cover your bills or have enough food for your family to eat. Everything feels very unstable and uncertain.
Take comfort that we are here to help.
Although every case is different and we will give you the advice to suit your situation when we speak with you, here is some general information to help you to handle the investigation process. The process can be complicated and lengthy.
You’ll typically discover that you’re being investigated for illegal hawala banking transactions when you are contacted by the police. You may either be arrested and charged, or you will be invited into the police station for an interview.
The outcome of the case could depend on what is said during that initial police interview. We recommend that you do not attend the meeting without taking a lawyer with you. You have a right to consult a lawyer and the right to participate with someone else.
You may have been falsely accused of illegal hawala banking transactions
Please also note that in many cases, people are wrongly accused of illegal hawala banking transactions. If you feel this is you, there are many reasons why you may have been contacted by the police; there may have been a false report or some confusion.
Without a lawyer, you cannot find out more until the interview
You’re very unlikely to be told why you’re being investigated or any other details about your case until you are at the meeting and in a situation where you can be questioned.
What many people find puzzling is that the authorities now have permission to look into almost every area of your life so that they can obtain evidence. Their investigation may stretch from your NHS records to your social media accounts to your personal financial information, everybody you have contact with can be looked into.
Typically, the next part of the process of being accused of illegal hawala banking transactions is attending a police interview.
The interview will be tape-recorded in case it needs to be used as evidence and played in court (if your case goes to court). However, this means that you have the right to legal advice, which is why it’s so crucial that you consult with us as legal professional beforehand.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
We recommend that you do not attend an interview without a legal professional to support you. However, if you were to do so, you’d be met at the venue by two investigation officers and taken to a room for formal interviewing.
Critically, if you attend without a legal consultant, you will be provided with further details about the case against you once the interview has started. If you hire a lawyer, they will gain disclosure about your case before the interview, and evidence will be shared or they will find out whether there is further evidence that will not be disclosed at this point. The information that your lawyer now has access to will give you insight into what the charges are against you, and you will be able to prepare.
The interview questions may be very probing, and you will be shown evidence that the authorities have gathered to prove their case. The interview is high pressure and can be intense and sometimes upsetting.
At the end of the interview, it’s likely that a decision will be made on whether to charge you.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with illegal HAwala banking transactions?
Hawala banking can be a very complicated area of law. Although it’s not compulsory for you to take legal representation, we do advise you to do so. Financial regulations, rules and restrictions are in a constant flux of change, and it can be very difficult to keep up with them and to understand them. Taking the guidance of a money laundering solicitor will provide you with an advantage.
Our team keep current with changes and review the changes that take place. You will have access to the most current information and will be given the best defence and advice. We will support you throughout the entire process and ensure that you get the best outcome.
The hawala banking investigation is a formal criminal investigation, a police interview with the potential for financial experts to be present. It’s vital that you don’t attend a police interview without taking a lawyer with you. We recommend that you take a hawala banking solicitor with you.
Hiring specialist knowledge will give you peace of mind. We advise that you get in touch with us as soon as you can so that we can assess your case before it develops further.
The police interview can be a very intimidating and stressful event. We may even be able to stop you having to attend one. In its place, we can work with you to create support documents that can be submitted to the investigations department instead. You will be saved from having to go through a harrowing and unpleasant experience.
Could you go to prison for illegal Hawala banking transactions?
Being accused of using hawala banking as a veil to hide illegal activities such as money laundering and funding terrorist groups can lead to severe consequences, but it does not result in a prison sentence every time. By taking the right steps and hiring an expert hawala banking solicitor, many cases can be resolved outside of the court system.
We handle hawala banking allegations regularly and have deep expertise in this field. We can help you by recommending the best course of action to take to mitigate the outcome. No matter what size your case, get in touch.
The police can search your home as they will be seeking evidence. The authorities will have granted access to your property, and the police will carry through the search.
The police may also search other properties associated to you, such as your work place and your partner’s address if it is different to your own.
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
When sentencing for illegal hawala banking transactions, your case will be looked at for whether it’s part of a group activity or something you were forced into. If you’ve used a false identity or you’ve purposefully given misleading information, this will be taken into account to decide upon your sentence.
Your previous criminal history, your personal circumstances, your health, your standing in the community and other good deeds you may have done will also be of interest to a judge who is assessing your punishment and the likelihood of you committing a crime again.
What type of sentence could you get for illegal Hawala banking transactions?
Depending on what you are charged with, you may be given a prison sentence. For money laundering, the sentence can be as long as 14 years.
In most cases however, the sentence will depend on the value of the funds laundered and the level of sophistication employed. Furthermore, the courts will also want to know the countries to which the funds were transferred and what the funds are most likely to be used for.
Does a conviction for illegal use of Hawala Banking go on your criminal record?
If your hawala banking case is heard in court and you are convicted of the crime, your conviction will be recorded on your CRB / police record.
The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of the sentence imposed on you.
In addition, you will most likely face confiscation proceedings and the prosecution will seek to strip you from your assets or demand a further and additional term of imprisonment for not paying the money.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Stuart Miller Solicitors are one of the most experienced and talented firms for defending hawala banking cases and representing money transfer businesses. We have defended some of the most high-profile and complex cases of recent times and have developed specialist expertise and skills in defending these cases.
We are fully adept with the challenges you are likely to face when building your defence and have successfully made complex legal arguments which can be used as precedents in this arena.
What will happen when I instruct a Hawala banking lawyer?
When you contact us to instruct us to be your lawyer in your hawala banking case, we can help you by guiding you on the best way forward. We can then look into the information that you’ve provided us to find a way to provide you with defence.
You will feel more at ease about the situation as you’ll know that we are handling it for you. We have a specialist team who are very up to date on hawala banking financial rules and regulations.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.
In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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