Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Questions (54)

Michael McGrath


54. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 63 of 6 September 2019, the process by which an unauthorised financial services provider can be fined by a court following conviction; the person or body whose role it is to take proceedings to court in order to impose a fine on an unauthorised financial services provider; if it is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Central Bank; if the Central Bank needs to report the instance to the Director of Public Prosecution for consideration; if so, the number of cases since 2015 that have been reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions; the number of cases that have been taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions to the courts since 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38943/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Central Bank that the Bank or the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can take a summary prosecution for unauthorised activity. However, the Central Bank does not have the power to take prosecutions on indictment, which typically attract more significant penalties. This power rests solely with the DPP.

Fines are imposed by a Court once an unauthorised provider has been convicted at the conclusion of a criminal trial, and are assessed by a trial judge. The fines that a Court can impose depend on the provisions of the legislation governing the particular category of unauthorised activity that the financial services provider is convicted under.

The Central Bank has statutory reporting obligations to An Garda Síochána to report information which leads it to suspect that a criminal offence has been committed. The Central Bank has stated that it takes these obligations very seriously and complies with them on an ongoing basis as appropriate. The Central Bank cannot comment on or provide any details in relation to the substance of those reports or the outcomes. The Central Bank keeps the consideration of potential criminality under constant review in the context of unauthorised providers of financial services.

Information in relation to the number of cases that have been taken by the DPP to the courts since 2015 is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.