Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ceisteanna (182, 183)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

182. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance if he will request the Revenue Commissioners to provide the number of suspicious transaction reports it receives from financial institutions in the Dublin region in each of the past ten years; if this type of information could be extracted and used in a public campaign run by the Revenue Commissioners and the Central Bank to prevent unsuspecting members of the public from being defrauded through various types of scams; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12839/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

183. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the number of suspicious reports received in each of the years 2014 to 2018 from all competent organisations in each tax region as stipulated under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding) Act 2010; the way in which these reports are assessed; the number that lead to prosecutions and-or the collection of unpaid taxes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 182 and 183 together.

I am advised that designated bodies are required to submit a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda S?ochána where they have a suspicion that a money laundering offence may have been committed. Tax evasion is a predicate offence for money laundering. In cases where the STR relates to other criminal activity it becomes a matter for An Garda S?ochána.

I am advised by Revenue that the number of STRs received from designated bodies, including financial institutions, under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding) Act, 2010 for 2009 to 2018 is as set out in the following table.

Year

STRs Received

2009

14,117

2010

13,395

2011

11,070

2012

12,175

2013

14,688

2014

18,149

2015

21,358

2016

22,607

2017

24,232

2018

23,422

 I am advised by Revenue that as regards the institutions that submit STRs, they do not have information identifying the county or regional location of such institutions  and therefore cannot provide the breakdown of STRs sought by the Deputy.

I understand that Revenue continues to engage actively with designated bodies at conferences and industry fora to communicate best practice for Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLRO) regarding the submission of quality STRs, and to emphasise the importance of STR reports to Revenue’s ongoing compliance programmes. Such speaking events are often undertaken in conjunction with the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which handles STRs on behalf of An Garda Síochána. 

On receipt by Revenue, all STRs are linked to the relevant taxpayer’s record, assigned a risk rating, and the data is incorporated into each taxpayer’s risk profile, informing Revenue’s decision as to the nature of any compliance intervention that may be appropriate having regards to the overall risk. In 2017, the yield from audit cases involving STRs was €5.5 million. The figures for 2018 will be available in May of this year.

I am advised that it is not possible to quantify the number of cases that lead to a prosecution, as the information received in an STR forms, as previously indicated, form only part of the overall risk profile for an individual taxpayer, and may, or may not, contribute to a decision to refer a taxpayer for prosecution.

Finally, I do not consider that there is a link that can be usefully made between the level of STRs reported to Revenue and the need for vigilance by members of the public to protect themselves against the effort of fraudsters to get access to their money. However, I am aware that Revenue regularly highlights the importance of taxpayers taking appropriate steps to safeguard their personal financial or banking details and has emphasised that Revenue will never seek to acquire those details through telephone contacts with taxpayers.