Thursday, 10 September 2020

Ceisteanna (182)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

182. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which the Criminal Assets Bureau continues to be successful in dealing with organised crime in all areas throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23239/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 a person's assets, wherever situated, 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 and disrupting the activities of criminal gangs by depriving them of ill-gotten assets.

The Bureau is widely regarded as a best practice model in the context of combating organised crime.  It works closely with law enforcement bodies at national and international levels and continues to relentlessly pursue the illicit proceeds of organised crime activity. The actions of the Bureau send a strong message to criminals and to local communities that profiting from crime will not be tolerated.

CAB have been central to many recent significant operations to combat organised criminal activity.  The Deputy may be aware that as part of Operation Coronation, on 17 June last, in excess of 170 members of An Garda Síochána from Limerick, Clare and Tipperary Divisions supported by the Criminal Assets Bureau carried out 67 searches at dwellings, businesses and land in Counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. Gardaí arrested 14 people and seized approximately €220,000 in euros and foreign currency as wells as deeds to overseas property and €100,000 in jewellery and luxury watches. Two bank accounts have also been frozen containing sums in excess of €119,000.  Significant evidence to support the investigation including financial accounts and property documentation was also recovered as well as €23,500 of suspected drugs and two cocaine presses.   

The Criminal Assets Bureau, under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996-2016, has frozen assets to the value of €231,918,179, GBP £21,864,840 and USD $12,935,685 under Section 2 and Section 3 for the years 1996 – 2019.

The investigations conducted by the Criminal Assets Bureau and the consequential proceedings and actions resulted in €194,518,433.05 returned to the Exchequer as a whole for the years 1996 – 2019, a breakdown of which is below:

Proceeds of Crime legislation:           €30,519,179

Revenue legislation:                           €159,284,028

Social Welfare legislation:                  €4,715,226

Total Returned to Exchequer:   €194,518,433

The Deputy will be aware that CAB published its Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2023 in July of this year. The strategic plan describes the structure of CAB and its key programmes of activity to deliver its remit. CAB has trained a nationwide network of asset profilers to identify assets acquired from the proceeds of criminal conduct. The Bureau continues to develop specialist expertise and technology to trace and investigate these assets. It also continues to work closely with international crime investigation agencies, and has successfully targeted proceeds of foreign criminality from countries such as the US and the UK.