RegSol Blog

Criminal Assets Bureau releases Annual Report and highlights Trend Changes

July 2019

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was set up in the wake of the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996. It is tasked with targeting assets obtained directly, or indirectly, from criminal conduct. The agency has the power to seize assets if officers believe they are the proceeds of crime.

On the 26th of June 2019, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan published the Criminal Assets Bureau Annual Report for 2018. The 2018 Report highlights the key activities undertaken by the Bureau during the year. During 2018, in excess of €5.6m was returned to the Exchequer as a result of CAB actions, including over €2.272m returned under Proceeds of Crime legislation, €3.097m collected under Revenue legislation and €0.323m recovered in Social Welfare overpayments. 

In addition, the Bureau brought 30 new asset seizing proceedings before the High Court in 2018, the highest number of new cases commenced in a single year since its establishment.  The value of assets frozen during the year under section 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 was €8.393m. Breakdown as follows:

These figures show criminals are shifting tactic by moving criminal proceeds into jewellery and property, particularly expensive house renovations and assets that hold their value, such as Rolex watches. Estate agents and jewellers should be particularly vigilant in this regard and be aware of their statutory obligations to report suspicious activity to the Gardai and the Revenue commissioners as soon as practicable.

CAB’s report also highlights that criminals are using cryptocurrencies to transfer money given its anonymous nature and ease of transfer and access. CAB’s seizure of the cryptocurrency Ethereum marked a worldwide first for law enforcement. Additional powers to be granted to law enforcement under the 5th EU AML directive, most likely to be transposed on the 10th of January 2020, will allow the likes of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and CAB to obtain addresses and identities of virtual owners of cryptocurrencies and wallets.

If you require assistance with your AML/CTF policies and internal control framework to ensure your organisation is ready for the 5th and 6th EU AML, please contact RegSol.

Click HERE for a copy of CAB’s Annual report in full.