Kent and London property tycoon accused of fraud and cannabis cultivation hands over £2 million to law enforcement agencies

A property developer has handed over almost £2 million to the National Crime Agency after a court heard his empire was allegedly funded through criminal activity.

Richard Leahy, a landlord from Orpington, was accused by law enforcement agencies of raising money for his purchases 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 acquired via crime, was made by consent on June 23 by the High Court in London.

The order relates to three London properties and £1,125,340 in cash in a bank account.

It comes after a settlement agreement between the NCA, Leahy and twelve 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, said: “This is a great result, recovering nearly £2 million 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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