The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau – Establishing A Perfect Model To Disrupt Transnational Scammers & Cybercriminals Worldwide
Irish Criminal Assets Bureau: Seize • Tax • Recover
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996 to 2016 the Criminal Assets Bureau can freeze and seize assets which it shows to the Irish High Court are the proceeds of criminal conduct. This is done on the civil standard of proof which is known internationally as non-Conviction Based Forfeiture. Because Ireland is a part of the European Union, this gives them certain authority across Europe as well.
The Criminal Assets Bureau can tax all sources of income. Where a person has a lifestyle not consistent with their returns to the Revenue Commissioners, the Bureau can raise tax assessments, issue tax demands and collect tax where it has not been paid. CAB can also implement all Customs controls and legislation as and when necessary.
The Criminal Assets Bureau can also enforce Social Welfare payments under the Department of Social Protection. The Bureau is empowered to investigate, determine, and recover any Social Welfare payments that have been falsely claimed. The Minister may also refer cases to the Bureau where there are reasonable grounds to believe that Social Welfare Officials may be subject to threats or other forms of intimidation.
About the Criminal Assets Bureau
The Criminal Assets Bureau was established on 15 October 1996 as an independent statutory body by enactment of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. Its establishment followed the murders of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and Journalist Veronica Guerin in June 1996. It operates as a part of the An Garda Síochána (Irish Police & Security Service), of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (Taxes and Customs), and of the Department of Social Protection.
The Bureau is a key part of the Irish State in tackling criminal activity, in particular, serious and organized criminal activity. It seeks to deny and deprive criminals of assets acquired through criminal conduct. The range of criminal conduct is varied and includes drug trafficking, theft, burglary, fraud (including scams), and money laundering.
The Criminal Assets Bureau is a corporate body with perpetual succession and an official seal. It has the power to sue and be sued in its corporate name. The Bureau also has the power to acquire, hold, and dispose of land or an interest in land and to acquire, hold, and dispose of any other property, including cryptocurrency.
In accordance with relevant legislation, all monies collected by the Criminal Assets Bureau are transferred to the Irish Exchequer for the benefit of the Central Fund or such other determination by Irish courts.
Criminal Assets Bureau Sale and Disposal of Seized Assets
The sale/disposal of all seized assets is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the order(s) of the Irish High Court. These orders can specify the method/type of sale, the required approval, and/or other stipulations as the Court views appropriate, including the return to victims or confiscation by the government.
Criminal Assets Bureau Functions
The functions of the Criminal Assets Bureau are set out at Section 5 of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act of 1996. In August of 2016, the Bureau welcomed the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2016. This amendment gave the Bureau two additional powers:
- Section 1A provides for the seizure of assets by Bureau Officers under limited circumstances and
- Reduced the threshold of value in proceeds of crime cases from €13,000 to €5,000. This means they can have jurisdiction in much smaller cases for the benefit of victims and the public.
Who is the Criminal Assets Bureau
The Criminal Assets Bureau is a multi-disciplinary body, made up of members of An Garda Síochána (Irish Police & Security Service), officials from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (Taxes and Customs), officials of the Department of Social Protection, together with staff from the Department of Justice, including the Bureau Legal Officer, Forensic Accountants, Financial Crime Analysts, IT experts, and Administrative Staff.
The Criminal Assets Bureau (as of December 2023) is led by the Chief Bureau Officer (CBO). The current CBO is Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins. The CBO is appointed by the Garda Commissioner from the rank of Chief Superintendent to carry, manage, and control the administration and business of the Bureau. In the absence of the CBO, the Commissioner may appoint for the purpose of the functions of the Bureau an Acting Chief Bureau Officer. This person is generally the Detective Superintendent attached to the Bureau.
The Bureau Legal Officer (BLO) is a member of staff of the Criminal Assets Bureau appointed by the Minister for Justice with the consent of the Attorney General and Minister for Finance. The BLO reports directly to the Chief Bureau Officer with the purpose of assisting the Bureau in the pursuit of its objectives and functions. The current Bureau Legal Officer is Mr Kevin McMeel.
There are two categories of personnel attached to the Criminal Assets Bureau:
- Bureau Officers (Gardaí, Revenue Officers (both Taxes and Customs,) and Social Protection Officers and
- Bureau Staff (Bureau Legal Officer, Administration, IT, Forensic Accountants, and Financial Crime Analysts).
To learn more about this agency visit: Criminal Assets Bureau (cab.ie)