Implications of forfeiting property
in money laundering cases
Accounting Research Institute and Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi Mara,
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Accounting Research Institute, Universiti Teknologi Mara,
Shah Alam, Malaysia, and
Muhammad Muaz Abdul Hakim
Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, Malaysia
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to examinethe broad concept of forfeiture, its legal positions in the
UK and Malaysia,and to highlight the implications of such forfeiture systems and legislations.
Design/methodology/approach –This paper uses a doctrinallegal analysis and secondary data, which
analyses primary sources, the POCA(2002) and the AMLATFA 2001, and secondary sources including case
law, articlesin academic journals, books and onlinedatabases.
Findings –The authors contend that the civil forfeiture system and law have far-reaching implications,
affecting not only law enforcement agencies, but also on property owners, the courts and bona ﬁde third
parties. Also, civil forfeiture law as contained in AMLATFA 2001 represents one of the most serious
encroachments on private property rights. Not only that, such a legal rule has made property, and not the
owner, guiltyuntil proven innocent.
Originality/value –This paper couldbe a useful source of information for practitioners, academiciansand
students.It could also be a beneﬁcial guide for policymakers for any possiblefuture amendments to the law.
Keywords Money laundering, Terrorism ﬁnancing, Forfeiture
Paper type Conceptual paper
The forfeiture of property in Malaysia has been recently governed by the Anti-Money
Laundering and Anti-TerrorismFinancing Act 2001 (hereinafter the “AMLATFA”). Recent
literature by Mohd.Yasin (2007) indicates that prior to AMALATFA 2001, forfeiture cases
almost exclusively centred on drug-trafﬁcking crime as governed under the Dangerous
Drugs (Forfeiture of Property) Act 1988. In addition, Nordin et al. (2012) contends that the
AMLATFA gives certain agencies authority to trace, seize and ultimately conﬁscate
criminally derived wealth, to forfeit the property and also to enable inter-government
exchange of informationwith counterparts in other countries. He then emphasizesthat there
are amendments to the AMLATFA, which have been passed by the Parliamentin 2001 and
This research is supported by the Accounting Research Institute and the Faculty of Law, University
Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.
Journalof Money Laundering
Vol.20 No. 4, 2017
© Emerald Publishing Limited
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at: