Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018: Committee Stage

The committee is in public session. I remind members to switch off their mobile phones as they interfere with the recording equipment.

This meeting has been convened for consideration of Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018. I welcome back the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan and his officials. Would the Minister at the outset like to make some opening remarks on the Bill before we commence to address the amendments?

I am pleased to be back to discuss the Bill. I want to acknowledge the support of members on Second Stage. I have tabled a number of minor amendments on the registration of cheque cashing offices. This is to comply with the directive. I wish to give notice that I intend to introduce an amendment, which again will be a minor amendment to update a definition which refers to the Data Protection Act 1998 to take account of the new recently enacted data protection legislation.

Go raibh maith agat a Áire.

I understand there are seven amendments. I wish to indicate that it is proposed to group all seven amendments as a single grouping, that is amendments Nos. 1 to 7, inclusive.

Sections 1 to 33, inclusive, agreed to

We now come to section 34 where the Minister has tabled a block of amendments, Nos. 1 to 7, inclusive. I invite the Minister to address his amendments.

SECTION 34

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 36, line 3, after “section 25(1)(b)” to insert “, or who carries on the business of a cheque cashing office,”.

These amendments merely transpose an aspect of the fourth directive, requiring member states to ensure that cheque cashing offices are licensed and registered. The Chair will be aware from his former career that there are not too many cheque cashing offices in the country. The role and function of the cheque cashing office did not extend the cashing of a cheque or the exchanging of the cheque for money, in times when people were paid by cheque one day a week and did not have a bank account or access to a bank but used the services of a cheque cashing office. My understanding is that there are no more than six to eight remaining in the country, one not too far from here. Any cheque cashing office that engages in business will be required to register the name, the address of the registered office and the location of the registered office.

The amendments are grouped and we are discussing all seven amendments together. Is the Minister happy that his statement covers all seven amendments?

Yes, if the Chairman is happy with it.

I support what the Minister has said. Is he certain that everything beyond the cheque cashing office is already covered?

Yes, that is my understanding.

Is it the case that anyone who engages in that activity must now register?

No. Anyone who carries out the business of a cheque cashing office, which is a particular type of business, must have a designation, be it a plaque in front of the office or a notice in front of the shop, to show that it is an official cheque cashing office.

That is a good idea. I support that proposal.

As there are no further contributions, that appears to cover this grouping. Does the Minister wish to add anything?

If the committee is happy, then I do not have anything to add other than the fact that I believe it is important that offices such as this are registered and that the register contains an appropriate level of detail to allow for the service of notice or whatever.

As I indicated before we commenced this session, I expected that this would not take much time. There is agreement across the board. In that case, I propose to proceed with the amendments in section 34 one by one.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 36, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:

“(6) The following particulars shall be entered into the Register in respect of each person registered who carries on the business of a cheque cashing office:

(a) the name of the person;

(b) the address of the registered office of the person;

(c) the addresses at which the business of a cheque cashing office is carried on.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 36, line 29, to delete “(6) The Bank” and substitute “(7) The Bank”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 36, line 30, to delete “(7) The Register” and substitute “(8) The Register”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 36, line 34, to delete “(8) The particulars” and substitute “(9) The particulars”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 36, after line 41, to insert the following:

“(10) The particulars entered in the Register pursuant to this section relating to a person who carries on the business of a cheque cashing office may be removed from the Register where that person ceases to carry on the business of a cheque cashing office or is authorised or licensed to carry on its activities by, or is registered with, the Bank under an enactment specified in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (2).”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 37, line 1, to delete “(9) In this section” and substitute “(11) In this section”.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 34, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 35 to 40, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

I thank the Minister and his officials for attending at both sessions of the select and joint Committees on Justice and Equality. I have nothing further to add save that the select committee is adjourned sine die and likely not to resume until the autumn. Go raibh maith agaibh.