Criminal Assets Bureau


Criminal Assets Bureau
Criminal Assets Bureau
Agency overview
Formed 1996
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Chief Bureau Officer, Criminal Assets Bureau, Harcourt Square, Harcourt Street Dublin 2
Website
[1]

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) (Irish: An Biúró um Shócmhainní Coiriúla) is a law enforcement agency in the Republic of Ireland, the purpose of which is to recover the proceeds of organised crime. It is a division of the Garda (police), but reports annually to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It has wide ranging powers including the seizure of proceeds of crime from criminals and serious tax defaulters.

Contents

Background

The CAB was established in August 1996 by Minister Nora Owen but was given statutory powers on 15 October 1996 under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. The CAB was established to deal with increasing levels of serious organised crime in Ireland, prompted by the murders of crime reporter Veronica Guerin and Detective Garda Jerry McCabe. Its powers were extended in 2005 to include the proceeds of corruption and organised crime committed outside of the State.

Overview

The CAB collected €89 million in taxes in its first ten years of existence and it also engaged in initiatives to curtail international criminality.[1] The CAB has a staff of 52, including Gardaí, Revenue Commissioners, (both customs and revenue officers), and civil servants from the Department of Social Protection. Its annual budget is €5.2 million, of which 62% is salary cost. Officers (except Gardaí) of the Bureau are protected with anonymity. The only members whose names are in the public domain are the Chief Bureau Officer and the Legal Officer. Fachtna Murphy was the first Chief Bureau Officer. The current Chief Bureau officer is Chief Superintendent John O'Mahoney, who succeeded Felix J. McKenna on 28 September 2006.Det.Chief Superintendent Pat Byrne was appointed Chief Bureau officer on 2 October 2009.

Objective

The statutory objective of CAB is to target the proceeds of criminal activity (drug trafficking, fraud and, since 2005, corruption) to ensure that those engaged in criminal activity do not benefit from it.

Proceeds of crime

  • CAB obtained 48 court orders against 77 defendants relating to the proceeds of crime, including the proceeds from the sale of five houses and seven cars.
  • Interim orders were made to stop criminals dispensing assets in excess of €6 million
  • €16.3 million was collected in taxes and interest arising from the enforcement of Taxes Acts in 2005.[2]
  • Social Welfare payments obtained suspected of being obtained under false pretences, or through overpayment are investigated. Social welfare savings of €216,054 were achieved in 2005 and €294,000 was recovered from people defrauding the system
  • Sums amounting to over €18.5 million (€348,250.43 in 2004) frozen under court orders under Section 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 were remitted to the Minister for Finance for the benefit of the central fund in 2005.

Camden Asset Recovery Interagency Network

CAB represents Ireland on the steering committee of the Camden Assets Recovery Interagency Network (CARIN), a group which aims to improve informal cross-border and inter-agency cooperation within the European Union and elsewhere. It operates from Europol the European Police Agency. The CAB held the presidency of CARIN in 2005.

Land assets at Carrickmines

The CAB successfully obtained a High Court order on 26 July 2006 freezing land assets of 43 hectares (0.43 km2) at Carrickmines, County Dublin owned by Jackson Way Properties Ltd and preventing their sale.[3] CAB contended that these lands had been rezoned on 16 December 1997 by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council from agricultural use to industrial use after Frank Dunlop bribed and made corrupt payments to councillors to secure their support in the rezoning vote. That vote increased the value of just 17 acres (69,000 m2) of the property from €8 million to €61 million. CAB has interviewed and taken statements from Frank Dunlop and will use him as a witness against a number of property developers.Mr Frank Dunlop has given evidence of bribery and corruption at the Mahon Tribunal and has through his own evidence self confessed and convicted himself and served a prison sentence for corruption.The Cab now face the difficult task of proving their case with Mr Frank Dunlop as their sole witness as his credibility is in doubt as he offers hearsay evidence and he has previously perjured himself to the Mahon Tribunal and doctored his own appointment notebooks.

The Carrickmines lands in question have been the subject of investigation by The Mahon Tribunal in 2003 and 2004.

Separately, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council was also at the centre of complaints by conservationists, who claimed that the rezoning of the Carrickmines lands what was a land-locked parcel directly led to the design of a motorway junction which also resulted in destroying the remains of an ancient fortified settlement.

If this case succeeds the potential money realised by CAB will be substantially more than the yield from gangland criminals since 1996 although this largely depends of the outcome of protracted legal proceedings. Other similar cases are likely to ensue involving lands investigated by The Mahon Tribunal.

The legality of the CAB claim to the lands subjected to a freezing order at Carrickmines Co Dublin was undermined considerably with the arrival into Ireland of one of the Directors of Jacksonway Properties Ltd., Mr Jim Kennedy, to give evidence at the unjust enrichment case at the Four Courts Dublin on 29 October 2010. This was the first civil Forfeiture case of its kind in the state. Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe to have enacted civil Forfeiture legislation, and despite opening the case and reducing their claim of unjust enrichment on the 17 acres of lands zoned at Carrickmines from 53 million euros downwards to 2.6 million on the first day of the hearing, CAB officers proceeded to arrest Mr Kennedy outside the court and filing criminal charges against him days later on 16 counts of Corruption. This is the first time a plaintiff has sought to arrest a defendant in the middle of a civil action. Mr Kennedy's lawyers sought to bring a motion for abuse of process against CAB. The civil action against Jackson Way properties has now been suspended until the hearing of the criminal action against Mr Kennedy, but Jackson way has managed to have 70 acres released from the freezing order sought by CAB on the grounds that it was agricultural land and should not have been subjected to the original freezing order. No consent was given by Jacksonway on the remaining lands held under freezing order and the civil action remains to be heard at a later date. A stay on the Criminal Court proceedings due to be heard in October 2011 was granted in the Supreme Court in July 2011 and the Supreme Court will now decide on the judicial review brought by Mr Jim Kennedy as to whether there has been inordinate delay in bringing forth these proceedings in light of the fact that the alleged corruption originating in 1992 and the death of number of councillors , given the delays and the deaths of witnesses that could help his defence it is unclear whether Mr Kennedy the Director of Jacksonway properties right to a fair trial has been violated and the matter will now be decided by the Supreme Court. In separate proceedings Jackson way has issued damages proceedings for losses in the region of 64 million euros against the Criminal Assets Bureau based on the reduction in value of the lands they froze and subsequently returned to the company. This action in itself is unusual and will be interesting to watch in that the CAB have been given considerable powers in 1996 and further extended in 2005 and as yet never had to account for any misuse of these powers through the courts.

See also

References

External links


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