Dublin: Stronger Powers Promised For Criminal Assets Agency (CAB) By Justice Minister

18 Jul

THE POWERS of the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) will be increased under forthcoming legislation, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has indicated.

The bureau paid more than €7 million from the proceeds of crime into the central exchequer fund last year.

Established in 1996, the bureau’s statutory remit is to carry out investigations into the suspected proceeds of criminal conduct.

“We are reviewing the legislation that exists in relation to Cab and I anticipate we may bring forward legislation increasing Cab’s powers and providing additional opportunities for Cab to perform its function,” Mr Shatter said.

Mr Shatter said the bureau was very successful and had been run extremely well.

In 2010, it paid more than €3 million into the State coffers from seized assets and collected a further €4 million from criminals by applying Revenue laws to undeclared earnings.

It initiated 15 High Court cases last year under the Proceeds of Crime Act and paid €3.114 million over to the Minister for Finance.

The bureau also assessed 31 individuals for tax and collected €4 million in relation to income that was generated from criminal conduct.

Mr Shatter said the bureau had made it clear to those engaged in criminal conduct “there would be a day of reckoning”.

Although it works closely with crime investigation agencies in various countries, Mr Shatter said European colleagues were being encouraged to visit the bureau’s Dublin headquarters, and a visit from a fellow minister for justice was anticipated.

The bureau’s work involves the Revenue Commissioners and Customs and Social Welfare authorities as well as the Garda.

It is supported by the Chief State Solicitor’s office, and works in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the office of the Attorney General.

Meanwhile, Mr Shatter outlined potential delays to building projects when he addressed the Dáil justice committee on his department’s spending estimates last week.

He said capital funding was available in the current year for the development of a new facility for the State Pathology Laboratory at Marino, Dublin, in a joint venture with Dublin City Council, but there had been a delay in the project as the original contractor had gone into receivership in 2010, he said.

“It is now necessary to re-tender for the project, and this will be completed as soon as the capital funding provision for future years becomes clearer,” he added.

Mr Shatter said the Office of Public Works had advised that the building of a “much-needed” new facility for the Forensic Science Laboratory was also subject to the outcome of the capital review of expenditure 2012 to 2016, which is currently under way across departments.

“I expect the position in relation to these two projects to be somewhat clearer when the output of the review is completed,” he said.

However, Mr Shatter said he was anxious to retain, as far as possible, current funding levels to the bureau and the State Pathology and Forensic Science Laboratories, because these organisations provided crucial services in the area of criminal investigation.

€3 million – seized in assets last year 

€4 million – seized from criminal by applying Revenue laws to undeclared earnings

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