Increasingly we're seeing that when a business is the victim of fraud, then the High Court does all that it can within its powers to enable money to be traced and recovered where possible.   

A recent example of this was in the case of Foglia v Family Officer Ltd & Others [2021] EWHC 650 (Comm) (22 March 2021).   The victim of a fraud, Mrs Foglia, acted quickly by instructing lawyers who made several urgent applications to Court for worldwide freezing injunctions, proprietary freezing orders and disclosure orders – against "persons unknown" and other third parties (banks and financial institutions). Mrs Foglia used the UK courts to successfully recover €11,456,631 from the defendants and from certain third-party recipients of the proceeds of the fraud. 

Another good example of the High Court supporting the victim of fraud was in the case of Ion Science v Persons Unknown [2020] (Comm) (21 December 2020).  The Court granted proprietary injunction, worldwide freezing injunction and associated disclosure orders against "Persons Unknown" - the purpose of these orders being to trace and recover money that had been misappropriated through an alleged fraud.  The claimants, in summary, alleged that they had been the victims of a cryptocurrency initial coin offering or ICO fraud, involving losses of £577,000 transferred by way of 64.35 bitcoin, in the belief that they were investing in genuine cryptocurrency products. 

Speed of response is often key to having any chance of tracing and recovering funds - urgent applications to Court are often required to obtain the information needed.  Input from specialist forensic/digital/cyber experts can also be important to support the work of the lawyers in tracing and recovering money.

James Hartley

Freeths LLP