Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2020: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I am pleased to introduce this important Bill to the House. The purpose of this legislation is to transpose the criminal justice elements of the fifth EU anti-money laundering directive, Directive 2018/843.

Targeting money laundering is central to fighting organised crime. Those who commit crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and fraud depend on hiding and converting the proceeds of those crimes. By pursuing those proceeds, we can bring those responsible to justice and meaningfully reduce the incentive to commit the crimes in the first place.

Part of that effort is through the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau. However, preventive measures are also essential. In the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, and before that in the Criminal Justice Act 1994, the Oireachtas both criminalised money laundering activities and required those whose business activities can be used to facilitate money laundering to help prevent it. On a practical level, this means knowing one's customers and doing appropriate due diligence before starting a business relationship. It means having proper processes in place to deal with suspicious transactions, while reporting suspicious transactions to the appropriate authorities.

Money laundering and terrorist financing are global issues. Criminals routinely move the proceeds of crime from one country to another and exploit inconsistencies and weak links. Accordingly, a coherent global approach is needed and the EU has long had legislation in the area. Internationally, the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, are applied by 37 member jurisdictions and inform the global approach. FATF monitors and evaluates compliance by those 37 members.

EU legislation and the FATF recommendations are frequently being updated to reflect new developments, as well as to ensure they are still relevant. This process of continuous improvement is a feature of the regime. This Bill, which amends the 2010 Act in line with the fifth directive, is the second significant amendment of that Act. In 2018, the Act was amended to give effect to the fourth anti-money laundering directive. The new regime adopted a more risk-based approach, where entities must take steps within a defined framework to identify and manage the risks in individual business relationships. It also adopted an increased focus on transparency of beneficial ownership, a measure further developed in the fifth directive.

Other enhancements in 2018 included a fitness and probity regime for the owners of private members’ gaming clubs, new provisions in respect of customer due diligence, new powers for the financial intelligence unit and more stringent requirements around politically exposed persons.

The fifth directive, implemented by this Bill, continues this process. It addresses the challenges presented by complex legal structures that can obscure the true owners of assets. It brings virtual asset service providers and custodian wallet providers into the scope of anti-money laundering regulation. It improves safeguards for financial transactions to and from high-risk third countries and sets new limits on the use of anonymous prepaid cards. It also brings several new designated persons under the existing legislation, including property services providers, as well as dealers and intermediaries in the art trade. It enhances the customer due diligence requirements of the existing legislation. It prevents credit and financial institutions from creating anonymous safe-deposit boxes. It provides for ministerial guidance, which will clarify domestic prominent public functions.

The measures specific to the criminal justice system in the fifth directive are primarily implemented in this Bill. However, a significant element of the fifth directive is improving the transparency of beneficial ownership of corporate and other legal entities to help address the use of complex legal structures for money laundering and terrorist financing. It also provides for the establishment of a national bank account register. This important ongoing work is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Finance. My Department works closely with the Department of Finance on these and other non-criminal justice measures.

Enacting this Bill will enhance the range of measures countering money laundering by reflecting modern developments. It will also help to bring us in line with our EU obligations. Members may be aware that Ireland is late in transposing this directive, the deadline for which was January of this year. The European Commission commenced the first stage of an infringement process, the issuing of a letter of formal notice in May of this year. While this Bill is not the only element of the transposition, enacting the Bill is an essential step in bringing our regime up to date and ensuring that Ireland is in full compliance.

I expect, however, that this area of law will continue to evolve as crime becomes increasingly sophisticated. Ireland has opted in to Directive 2019/1153, which enhances the use of financial information by giving law enforcement authorities direct access to information about the identity of bank account holders contained in national centralised registries. In addition, it gives law enforcement the possibility to access certain information from national financial intelligence units, including data on financial transactions. It also improves the information exchange between financial intelligence units, as well as their access to law enforcement information necessary for the performance of their tasks. These measures will speed up criminal investigations and enable authorities to combat cross-border crime more effectively.

As Members are aware, there are already robust and extensive anti-money laundering laws in place in Ireland. The existing Act, as amended, runs to almost 150 sections, with the majority of those sections concerning designated persons and their obligations. However, at its heart, is the offence defined in section 7(1) of the 2010 Act. A person commits a money laundering offence if he or she, among other things, uses, conceals, disguises, transfers, acquires, convert or removes from the State, the proceeds of crime. This applies if the person knows or believes that he or she is handling the proceeds of crime, or is reckless as to whether he or she is doing so. It is important to bear this offence in mind. While the other aspects of the regime support the prevention and detection of money laundering, and apply in a differentiated way to specific cases, it is open to no one to recklessly facilitate money laundering.

This legislative framework is supported by a strong operational capability. There is a range of bodies active in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, including An Garda Síochána’s National Economic Crime Bureau, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Central Bank and my Department. The anti-money laundering steering committee brings together the relevant Departments and agencies to co-ordinate the national response to risks relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.

In its most recent evaluation report for Ireland, the FATF found that Ireland has a generally sound and substantially effective legal and institutional anti-money laundering framework. This new legislation will update and enhance that framework, while addressing many of the remaining gaps identified in the evaluation.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, contain provisions which update various definitions in the principal Act to bring it into line with the definitions used in the fifth directive. In particular, section 3 provides for the definitions of the new entities that will be considered designated persons under the Act. This includes new definitions of property service provider, virtual asset service provider and custodian wallet provider.

Section 4 amends section 25 of the 2010 Act and brings the new entities under the designated person provisions who are required to apply anti-money laundering measures in the course of their business. These new designated persons include letting agents, virtual asset service providers and high-value art dealers and intermediaries in that trade.

Section 5 amends section 33 of the 2010 Act and provides for a number of technical amendments, including an obligation to carry out customer due diligence when required to contact the customer under any other enactment.

Section 6 amends section 33A of the 2010 Act and provides for lowering the value limits for carrying out simplified due diligence on e-money instruments. This means that a person supplying e-money instruments, such as a prepaid card, will be required to conduct customer due diligence when the value of the requested card is €150 or higher. The existing threshold is €250.

Section 7 amends section 35 of the 2010 Act and provides that where a designated person is entering a business relationship with another entity, that person must take steps to obtain the relevant information from the register of beneficial ownership of trusts, corporate entities or financial vehicles, as appropriate, and must not engage in that business relationship until the relevant information is obtained. By way of derogation, a financial institution is allowed to open an account ahead of obtaining the information but cannot allow any transactions on that account.

Section 8 amends section 36A of the 2010 Act to give effect to a technical amendment to the wording of the directive in respect of which transactions require further examination.

Section 9 amends section 37 of the 2010 Act to provide for the Minister for Justice and Equality, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to issue guidance to competent authorities on the prominent public functions that will give rise to a person being designated as a politically exposed person. The amendments will also allow a designated person to continue to monitor someone who was previously designated a politically exposed person, so long as a money laundering risk exists in connection with their previous designation.

Section 10 makes a technical amendment to section 38 of the 2010 Act to more clearly define the relevant relationship.

Section 11 amends section 38A of the 2010 Act and provides for a detailed list of enhanced due diligence measures that the designated person is required to apply when dealing with a customer established, or residing, in a high-risk third country.

Section 12 makes a technical amendment to section 40 of the 2010 Act in respect of information to be received from a relevant third party.

Section 13 places a requirement on the financial intelligence unit, FIU Ireland, to provide, where practicable, feedback in respect of suspicious transaction reports made to them. This reflects existing administrative practice.

Section 14 amends section 51 of the 2010 Act and provides for a defence to proceedings in respect of "tipping-off" where the designated person can prove that the entity to which the information was disclosed was a specified financial institution that is connected to the designated person or part of the same group structure.

Section 15 makes a technical amendment to section 55 of the 2010 Act in respect of record-keeping.

Section 16 amends section 58 of the 2010 Act and prohibits credit or financial institutions from creating anonymous safe deposit boxes.

Section 17 amends section 60 of the 2010 Act and assigns the supervising "competent authority" for the new "designated persons" under the amendments to section 25. The amendment also provides for the Legal Services Regulatory Authority, LSRA, to become the competent authority for barristers in the State following an agreement with the Bar Council.

Section 18 amends section 63B of the 2010 Act and provides for additional measures in respect of co-operation between competent authorities in different member states.

Section 19 amends section 63D of the 2010 Act and updates the provisions relating to the persons employed by competent authorities in line with updates in the fifth directive.

Section 20 inserts a new section 63E into the 2010 Act. The new section provides that each competent authority establish effective and reliable mechanisms to encourage the reporting of breaches of the Act. The section also requires a competent authority to provide a secure communication channel for such reporting.

Section 21 amends section 65 of the 2010 Act and provides for additional detail which is to be included in the annual money-laundering reports of self-regulating bodies, for example, the Law Society or relevant accounting bodies.

Section 22 makes a technical amendment to section 84 of the 2010 Act.

Section 23 repeals and replaces section 101 of the 2010 Act. This section inserts new provisions for the establishment of a trust or company service provider appeal tribunal. This is designed to establish one permanent trust or company service provider appeal tribunal, to improve independence and transparency of the recruitment process for members of the tribunal and to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the tribunal. The winding down of the current appeals tribunal and its replacement with the tribunal this section seeks to establish will be managed by the commencement of this section as and when appropriate.

Sections 24 and 25 amend and update the risk factors set out in Schedules 3 and 4 to the 2010 Act. The amendments are to provide for the relevant updates in the fifth directive.

Section 26 provides for the Short Title and commencement provisions of the Act. This is a standard provision.

I may move Committee Stage amendments in respect of certain technical matters in the Bill. Particular consideration is being given to the appropriate treatment of providers of virtual asset services. This is a fast-moving area and FATF have made recent recommendations on it.

This Bill reflects an evolution and an enhancement of the existing anti-money laundering framework to reflect recent developments and is part of an ongoing process. It will act as a further tool to combat global organised crime, protect our financial system and ensure we meet the highest international standards. Combating such crime is a Government priority, and I look forward to hearing the views of Members and to the passage of the legislation through the House. I commend the Bill to the House.

I thank the Minister of State and compliment him because it is the first time we have had him before the House as a new junior Minister in the Department of Justice and Equality. I wish him all the very best in that post.

This legislation emanates from a 2018 European Parliament directive, which I understand we are a little late in bringing into vogue in Ireland. However, better late than never. Many people around the country have, unfortunately, borne the brunt of this issue. The manner in which the banks handle situations where fraud has taken place has been a long-term problem for many people. We have seen this in recent times. There was a large scam going on whereby people's bank accounts were being plundered. I came across many students who had their savings taken completely from them and had to put up a notorious fight to get the banks to compensate them for that. One of the issues that immediately springs to mind in that regard is how this can be done under the watch of banking authorities where proper due diligence is supposed to be in place to ensure that the people who are transacting accounts do so in the proper way.

There are clear issues in this regard, and many of the measures in this legislation seek to deal with them. The legislation is quite detailed. I read the debates that took place in 2018 on the amendments that were brought to the 2010 Act. The legislation before the House is an expansion of that in the context of a moving, changing society and the world of finance and money. Now we have virtual money, bitcoin and all sorts of transactions taking place, which would seem strange to the layperson on the street but which have become the norm, unfortunately, and have been used by criminal elements all over the world. It has always struck me that, particularly in a European Union context, we have talked about the free movement of people, labour and work and so on but a lot of this is about the free movement of capital and the fact that capital can move in and out of two jurisdictions, not just across Europe but across the world. This has opened up opportunities for very smart and tech-savvy people who are able to use this to their advantage and to the advantage of a criminal underworld that can profit greatly from it. There have been other recent scams. I heard on, I think, "Morning Ireland" - I am not sure whether it was yesterday morning or last week - that there is this issue of money mules, whereby people are being conned into allowing their bank accounts to be used for the processing of large sums. If this happens, they are enticed into some kind of financial award, which is highly illegal. The State needs a strong arm to make sure that this does not happen. Unfortunately, and this is one issue at the core of everything in our society, as long as we have poverty and as long as there are people who have no prospect of a bright new future for themselves, any way of making a fast buck is very tempting to them. Those involved in this activity are inclined to use that and, unfortunately, some people fall into and get caught in that trap.

We, as a society, and particularly the banking institutions through which these processes are put in place, have an absolute obligation to protect everyone, including the ordinary citizen out there and the unfortunate person who may be tempted to go down this road because of the financial enticement involved. There have been many international examples. The world of high finance and banking have known for decades of the movement of large volumes of capital and the movement of illicit funds through various accounts, and not only have they done nothing about it but they have not even attempted to report it in many cases. There is a view among not just the ordinary people out there but the people I speak to in this profession that there is a lot of playing fast and loose with the rules. This legislation goes somewhere on that. It may not go all the way, and there is a lot more to be done on all this. One measure that could be expanded on is what level of sanction there is for the banks if they are seen to break these rules. I know there is some element of this in the original legislation, but it would be important to tease that out and illuminate further what more could be done about this. Unless there is a very strong sanction in place against the banking institutions for allowing this kind of thing to happen, they will continue to do so. We have seen them do so, in fact, with their own account holders. On many occasions, people have been overcharged and have not even been able to get a refund. The banking institutions inhabit a very murky financial world where an awful lot of white-collar crime happens under our very noses and, unfortunately, with the co-operation of very many people within those institutions. The regulatory authorities that are meant to be keeping a very close eye on this and to be doing something about it have very often failed, and those failings are brought to bear in all this.

This legislation is appropriate. It will warrant adequate debate here, as I am sure it will over the coming days. As we move forward we need to make sure we hold to account the people who have in the past wrecked communities and the lives of so many people around the world. This happens not only in Ireland; unfortunately, it is a global phenomenon and we need to be part of a global solution to it.

Transposing this EU directive into law is a first step in making that happen.

Déanaim comhghairdeas leis an Aire Stáit nua. I congratulate the Minister of State on his first appearance in this House. As an aside, I have spoken to him about the importance of improving Tralee Courthouse and I look forward to a longer conversation regarding keeping it in mind and in the town centre. I wish him the best of luck with that.

As has been said, there are already robust and extensive anti-money laundering laws in place in Ireland and, having worked as a solicitor for a few years, I am well aware of the extensive money laundering compliance and due diligence that solicitors are obliged to undertake on an annual basis. As the Minister of State said, money laundering and financing of terrorism are global issues and a coherent global approach is needed. I submitted a parliamentary question which was answered at the beginning of the month in which I asked when this legislation would be brought forward. At the end of the response to that question, it stated: "It is also proposed to future proof our approach, by introducing amendments, to the published Bill, that will address our obligations as a member of the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF)". Will the Minister of State confirm that has been included?

In relation to the dark money networks, we have seen over the past couple of days the role banks and other financial institutions have played in laundering money. There is a race between tax authorities and some owners of private capital, who will seek any place to put their money to escape tax. This Bill is welcome, insofar as it recognises this by putting obligations on various new designated persons to carry out anti-money laundering administration. Allowing assets and cash to be hidden from tax authorities deepens inequality and weakens states. There is a danger that cryptocurrencies could become a new frontier in this battle. I commend the Bill's regulation of certain other relevant professions through sections 17 and 21. Only a tiny minority of people in these professions engage in untoward behaviour but it is important there is legal recourse, as I see is provided for in the Bill.

The Bill increases some of the administrative obligations on credit unions but a new Act for the credit union sector is needed and better impact assessments should be carried out. Credit unions are important institutions which we should not lose. Around the country and in County Kerry, they are being forced to close or merge and the burden of regulation is one of the things that is causing this developments. In many parts of County Kerry, some credit unions are so small they cannot afford to hire extra staff to cover all the necessary regulatory requirements. If they merge, that helps to scale up their operations but it may deprive communities of a vital service. Will the Minister of State consider a proper credit union Bill? They are subject to different rules to the banks and they should be given a break at the moment.

In relation to online fraud, the Bill is welcome. There is serious evidence that online fraud is rising during the pandemic, having already been on an upward trend. In the first three months of 2020, there was an increase of 15% in fraud compared to the same period in 2019. In Kerry, fraud increased from 2018 to 2019 by 75%, according to Garda statistics. Many categories of crime decreased in Kerry, I am glad to note, but fraud increased. Cryptocurrencies are part of the growth in online fraud and An Garda Síochána must be properly resourced as recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. That report states the capacity and expertise of the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau should be substantially expanded as a matter of urgency and personnel appointments in that field should be fast-tracked by the Department. Legislation alone is never enough and the Government needs to make good on its promise in the programme for Government to rapidly implement these recommendations.

Overall, Sinn Féin supports this Bill, which we have called for.

The Bill is in many ways a step in the right direction and banks and financial institutions need to be held accountable for protecting their customers and for being scammed and facilitating illegal activity. As previously stated, this Bill is intended to transpose this fifth EU anti-money laundering directive into Irish law. The directive represents improvement in exposing the secretive ownership structures often used for tax evasion and other illegal activities.

Notwithstanding the progress made, the proposal was weakened before it was agreed at EU level. When offshore structures are protected, so too are other criminal activities. Despite that, the original directive had its teeth removed. The most important area in which the original directive was watered down relates to the issue of beneficial owners, which basically means the real owners of companies. The idea was to stop cases where an offshore company could have a nominee director. Such an individual could be hired in name and down as the owner for thousands of companies. The Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers and other leaks have repeatedly shown that shelf companies with complex ownership structures allow for tax evasion around the world on an industrial scale. We desperately need laws to address these secretive structures that allow company owners to be completely hidden. It is one of the biggest challenges we face in making the wealthiest in society pay their fair share. Yet, when this directive came back from the negotiations between the European Commission and the European Council, public access to the information was weakened and the proportion someone could own of a company while remaining hidden was increased.

This Bill gives the public more transparency regarding who owns what company but people are right to ask why the information we are working with is still so limited. The threshold for beneficial ownership is far too high at 25%. Tax justice and transparency advocates argue that a single share should be enough to constitute beneficial ownership and I believe most ordinary people would agree. Senior managers will still be allowed to be listed as beneficial owners, maintaining another important loophole. We still will be obliged to prove legitimate interest to access details of beneficial ownership of trusts.

On 10 August 2020, the Bill was agreed by the Cabinet. The EU directive was agreed upon almost two years ago. Ireland, like all member states, was given until January this year to pass legislation on it and this legislation should have been brought forward in 2019. It was only after the European Court of Justice imposed a €2 million fine on Ireland for delays, however, that action was taken. First it was watered down and then it was delayed. Why was this not introduced in 2019? Why has it taken more than two years to bring forward this important legislation? We should be bringing in stronger laws than those agreed at EU level. We know the extent and the impact of the problem throughout this State but we have seen successive Governments resisting reform and blocking transparency into ownership structures and tax evasion. While I welcome this Bill, which will go some way towards addressing that, there is a lot more to be done. I urge the Government to put its citizens first and to do everything possible to stop the wealthiest hiding behind structures. We need more transparency; it is only through transparency that we can have accountability.

I too congratulate the new Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, my constituency colleague, Deputy Browne, and I wish him every success in his appointment. It is a demanding role and a demanding Department. I was spokesman in the area in the past and one spends a lot of time in this Chamber because half of the legislation that comes though these Houses comes from the Department of Justice and Equality.

We should look at that situation, because it is not possible to give priority to all the areas under the remit of the Department. Previously, we set up a Department of Equality and Law Reform. Perhaps that is what is intended by offloading some of the work of the Department to the new Minister with responsibility for integration. I cannot use the opportunity, as Deputy Daly did, to lobby for a new courthouse for Wexford, because that has, thankfully, been provided. I wish him well in his endeavours and Tralee would be an ideal location.

I welcome this Bill. It is an extraordinarily important area of focus and a very complex one. Many people do not know the minutiae of world finance or how capital and money flow seamlessly across the globe. Humanity, as a body, needs to have control of that flow and to understand what is going on. We can only act internationally on these types of issues. There is no point having domestic law that does not have a wide scope, and that is why it is important that we use the institutions of the European Union to act in concert with the other member states so we can control this menacing area.

In his contribution, the Minister of State spoke about the process of continually updating. That is very important, because money laundering is a worldwide crime that is evolving all the time, with new mechanisms being devised because the profits are so enormous. Bluntly, the mechanisms we use to counteract it are not up to the mark and have not been to date. Across the globe we see kleptocracies, where regimes rob the raw resources of their own people. In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, we saw how individual citizens became multimillionaires at a time many people were impoverished. Much of that money was anchored offshore. It travelled all over the world and was put into various mechanisms and financial vehicles. It continues now from a variety of international sources, from criminal sources in the drugs trade and terrorist sources. We must apply ourselves to ensuring that we are as agile as legislators and law enforcers as is the criminal community.

I welcome this Bill. It is technical, and one of these Bills where it is necessary to read the anchoring legislation to cross reference the amendments and changes being made. I add my voice, however, to the words of criticism of the Bill. It is unfortunate that we are in breach of the timeline set out in an EU directive and have been fined €2 million. We could do with spending that €2 million in many better ways than being fined for our own tardiness in a matter such as this. That is particularly the case when it is absolutely in the interests of Ireland that this legislation be enacted, and no Administration that we have had would not have been highly supportive of the provisions of this legislation.

The EU regulations are designed to introduce transparency, as the Minister of State has set out, on the ownership of companies. This is one of the areas we must delve into deeply to find out who are the beneficial owners, because it is possible to have offshoot companies anchored in offshore companies that are anchored in holding companies, which are designed to make the real beneficial owners as opaque as possible. The regulations also reinforce surveillance requirements, and that is important. We know from our economic collapse that the institutions we trusted to have oversight of the banking system here were not up to the mark. Considering how important financial services are to Ireland, we must ask whether the resources now being deployed and the oversight bodies that exist are up to the role that Ireland wants to play as a major international hub for financial services.

Firms located in Ireland provide financial services to every major economy. We are a small island and we have a small cohort of people involved in oversight of financial services, but the financial services we provide on this island are of an enormous scale, one we would not have envisaged a few decades ago. According to Industrial Development Authority Ireland, IDA, financial services employ 42,000 people in Ireland. The sector contributes €2.3 billion in taxes annually to the State. It is not confined to Dublin, as the Minister of State will be aware. We have financial services companies in Wexford and they operate all the way up to Donegal, although the hub is obviously in Dublin.

Some 250 leading financial services firms operate out of Ireland and half of the world's top 50 banks have representation in, and transact business, in Ireland. The sums involved are staggering. More than €1.8 trillion in funds are administered from Ireland. Considering the capacity of Ireland and the throughput of the economy - and I know that gross domestic product, GDP, is now an abused term and it would even take several people to explain what modified gross national income, GNI*, is - these funds under administration are multiples of that figure.

According to Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Stock Exchange is the world leading listing venue for fund and structured debt products. We are not, therefore, small players in international financial services and we must have oversight mechanisms that protect our reputation. In the past, Ireland's reputation has been dented by measures such as the "double Irish" and particular mechanisms used to attract foreign direct investment, FDI. We must be crystal clear that we will provide an oversight mechanism equal to the capacity of these financial services to operate on our island into the future.

In that regard, I refer to the resources now available. Despite what I read in one recent tweet from Fine Gael, the former Deputy and Minister, Ruairí Quinn, set up the Criminal Assets Bureau, CAB, in 1996, after the shocking murders of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and Veronica Guerin. Those murders shocked the nation to the core. The CAB has been a very successful mechanism. The old adage is that Al Capone was put away for tax evasion and not for all the murders and other awfulness in which he was involved. Taking away the assets of people who cannot prove that they acquired them properly has been an effective mechanism.

Turning to the operation of financial services, we now have the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, GNECB, formerly the Garda Bureau for Fraud Investigation, GBFI. The GNECB is now the main entity overseeing the implications of this legislation, although the CAB and other agencies will also be involved. Is the GNECB adequately resourced for the task? I ask that question given the scale of the financial entities existing on this island.

The reply to the most recent parliamentary question I asked stated that the full complement of the GNECB is 72 gardaí, 19 civilian staff, plus three accountants. I thought it striking that three accountants are a part of the bureau, The complement of accountants has not been greatly enhanced since the GBFI operated in this space even though the throughput of cash and resources flowing through Ireland has increased immeasurably and, to put it bluntly, is likely to increase further with the advent of Brexit. The IDA and the Government are looking to have resources, including banks, insurance firms, reinsurance companies and so on, relocate to Ireland rather than to Luxembourg or Frankfurt if they are to leave London and need a European home. If we are going to be proactive in looking for that business, we need to be equally proactive in ensuring that the oversight is there to ensure that all that business is above suspicion, like Lot's wife, and is seen to be. It must be clear that we have a patent and clear capacity within our oversight bodies to ensure that is the case.

Other Deputies have talked about the move to cryptocurrencies. That is an area that is directly dealt with in the directive and lends itself particularly to the area of fraud. There can be incredible movement in the value of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin over a short time. Others have touched on the impact of this on ordinary people in our society. The most recent example in the media has been the issue of money mules, where young people, often students, have been inveigled into allowing their bank accounts to be used to launder money, to be frank, and are given a token payment, a pittance, for that. We need to alert people to the consequences of doing that. Money laundering is a serious offence and carries a jail term of up to 14 years under legislation enacted by these Houses. It could also be ruinous for somebody's life. A conviction under legislation such as this would preclude people travelling to many countries. They need to be alerted to that.

We are moving fast towards a cashless society and the advent of Covid-19 has accelerated that in a clear way. Many people are not comfortable with that but people did not, and do not, want to handle cash at the moment so all of us are using our cards and an awful lot of people simply do not carry cash. I thought how fast we have already moved in that regard when I saw somebody begging on the street and taking cards. A cashless society will intensify the requirement for oversight because we will never see our money and, in the future, it will always be figures generated on our mobile phones. All of that will require us to be personally vigilant and to have assurances from State authorities that the failure of oversight that led to the economic collapse of 2009 and 2010 will not recur and impoverish people yet again.

There are a few references in the legislation that people who are relatively new to politics may find a little jarring. There is the concept of a politically exposed person, PEP. We are all PEPs and require particular monitoring and surveillance. This was recently brought to my attention by somebody who had been elected to the national executive of the Labour Party, and I am sure the same happens in every other party. That person was notified by their bank that they are a PEP. "What is a PEP and what does it mean for me?", they asked. I told them that it means that there is particular scrutiny on people who have political roles and authority. Some of the antics of the past have made that a necessary requirement. That can be seen to be absolutely true when one looks at obvious corruption around the world. While we can condemn corruption and decry kleptocracies that rob the resources of their own people, we in the West often provide the wherewithal for those same robbers to hide their money in our banking and financial systems. We must be clear about that, set our faces against that and expose that in a co-ordinated, international way.

This legislation is a significant step on a continuous road because we are never going to be done with this. Just as the clever brains of those who are involved in money laundering will develop new strategies, we must develop new laws to combat that.

I will conclude by talking about what money laundering and terrorist financing are. For money laundering to occur, the fraud involved must generate funds that are the proceeds of crime. Money laundering is the processing of the proceeds of crime. For terrorist financing to occur, the source of the funds is not relevant. Even if the sources of the funds are legitimate, it is a serious criminal event that needs to be addressed if they are obviously being used to fund terrorism.

I believe we can enact decent law, evolve and be relatively agile in our legislation but my overarching concern is that, as in many areas of public business, we construct elaborate legal frameworks without the wherewithal to ensure that they are properly, effectively and extensively resourced. I hope that the Minister of State will give us assurances that the Garda authorities, including the GNECB and CAB, as well as the Central Bank, are not only adequately resourced but will have additional resources to deal with what I believe will be an expansion of our financial services in this country.

Debate adjourned.