I propose to take Questions Nos. 738 and 739 together.
As the Deputy may be aware, the Minister for Justice is a competent authority, responsible for supervising a range of designated persons for compliance with their anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations, under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 as amended.
I have delegated this role to the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit (AMLCU) in my Department. The unit supervises designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) that are not supervised by other competent authorities. The unit is the competent authority for tax advisors and external accountants that are not otherwise supervised by one of the eight prescribed accountancy bodies.
The vast majority of accountants in Ireland are members of a prescribed accounting body. The AML/CFT National Risk Assessment indicates that there are 34,000 regulated accountants in Ireland. There is no requirement under the Act for external accountants and tax advisors not otherwise supervised to register with the Unit.
To date, the AMLCU has identified approximately 200 external accountants that are not otherwise supervised by a prescribed accounting body. There were 34 on-site regulatory inspections by the Unit of external accountants/tax advisors not otherwise supervised between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2020. In 2018, under section 66 of the Act, the Unit requested a list from Revenue of those registered as tax advisors.
27 of the 34 inspected in the period have a tax advisor identification number noted on Revenue records.
At inspection, regulatory investigators of the AMLCU verify that those being inspected are not members of a prescribed accountancy body. Membership of the organisation in the details supplied by the Deputy is not checked at inspection. However, three of those inspected in the period specifically mentioned to regulatory investigators that they were members of the organisation in the details supplied by the Deputy.