Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (667)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

667. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the success of the Criminal Assets Bureau in the fight against all forms of crime, organised and otherwise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7158/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is a multi-agency statutory body established under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act, 1996. The Bureau’s remit is to target the assets, wherever situated, of persons which derive or are suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal conduct. Since its inception, the Bureau has been at the forefront of fighting organised crime in this jurisdiction – disrupting the activities of criminal gangs through the removal of their ill-gotten gains - and has been recognised as a world leader in asset investigations, tracing and forfeiture.

The Bureau has staff drawn from An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (including Customs), the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Justice.

The Bureau works closely with Gardaí and all law enforcement agencies at national and international levels and continues to focus its efforts on targeting assets deriving from all types of criminal conduct. The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005 makes provision for the Bureau to seize assets that were generated in foreign jurisdictions. This Act enables the Bureau to cooperate fully with other international asset recovery agencies.

The Bureau serves to make Ireland a more hostile environment for the generation of proceeds of crime and sends a strong message to criminals and to local communities that profiting from crime will simply not be tolerated. In doing so, the Bureau targets lower to middle tier criminals, in addition to Organised Crime Groups.

The Bureau’s activity has increased year on year with 57 Operational Searches conducted in 2019 compared to 34 in 2018; 31 Proceeds of Crime Applications initiated during 2019, up one from 2018 and the value of assets seized in 2019 under Section 2 increased to approximately €65 million compared to €8.3 million in 2018. To acknowledge the Bureau’s increased activity, the Bureau’s Budget was increased to €9.961 million for 2021 (up from €9.090 miilion in 2020).

The activities of the Bureau are reported on each year in its Annual Report and can be found at www.cab.ie. The 2020 Annual Report is currently being drafted and will be published later in the year.