The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is an independent statutory body, established on the 15th of October 1996 by the enactment of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. The establishment of the Bureau followed the murders of Detective Garda Jerry Mc Cabe and Journalist Veronica Guerin in June 1996. The Bureau is a key part of the armoury of the State in tackling criminal activity, in particular serious and organised criminal activity, through depriving persons of their ill-gotten gains and disrupting the resources available to support criminal activity.
The Bureau is a body corporate with perpetual succession and an official seal and power to sue and be sued in its corporate name and to acquire, hold and dispose of land or an interest in land and to acquire, hold and dispose of any other property.
In accordance with relevant legislation all monies collected by the Bureau are returned to the Exchequer for the benefit of the Central Fund.
Objectives of the Bureau
The objectives of the Bureau are set out at Section 4 of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 as follows;
(a) the identification of the assets, wherever situated, of persons which derive or are suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity,
(b) the taking of appropriate action under the law to deprive or to deny those persons of the assets or the benefit of such assets, in whole or in part, as may be appropriate, and
(c) the pursuit of any investigation or the doing of any other preparatory work in relation to any proceedings arising from the objectives mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b).”
Functions of the Bureau
The functions of the Bureau are set out at Section 5 of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 as follows;
5 (1) Without prejudice to the generality of section 4, the functions of the Bureau, operating through its bureau officers, shall be the taking of all necessary actions —
(a) in accordance with Garda functions, for the purposes of, the confiscation, restraint of use, freezing, preservation or seizure of assets identified as deriving, or suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity,
(b) under the Revenue Acts or any provision of any other enactment, whether passed before or after the passing of this Act, which relates to revenue, to ensure that the proceeds of criminal activity or suspected criminal activity are subjected to tax and that the Revenue Acts, where appropriate, are fully applied in relation to such proceeds or activities, as the case may be,
(c) under the Social Welfare Acts for the investigation and determination, as appropriate, of any claim for or in respect of benefit (within the meaning of section 204 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993 ) by any person engaged in criminal activity, and
(d) at the request of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, to investigate and determine, as appropriate, any claim for or in respect of a benefit, within the meaning of section 204 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993, where the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection certifies that there are reasonable grounds for believing that, in the case of a particular investigation, officers of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection may be subject to threats or other forms of intimidation, and such actions include, where appropriate, subject to any international agreement, cooperation with any police force, or any authority, being a tax authority or social security authority, of a territory or state other than the State.”
The Criminal Assets Bureau welcomes the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2016 which commenced in August 2016. This gave the Bureau two main additional powers:
(1) Section 1A provides for the seizure of assets by Bureau Officers under limited circumstances and
(2) Reduced the threshold of value in proceeds of crime cases from €13,000 to €5,000 (CAB have used this power on 11 occasions to date).
The Bureau reports annually to the Minister for Justice and Equality through the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána and this report is laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Minister for Justice and Equality, in publishing the 2018 CAB Annual Report, stated: “I am pleased to announce the publication of the twenty-third Annual Report of the Criminal Assets Bureau and to thank the Chief Bureau Officer Pat Clavin and his team for their excellent and relentless efforts in targeting the proceeds of crime arising from a range of criminal activities.”
The Bureau provided briefings to all 36 Joint Policing Committees on its activities and how information provided by local communities can assist the Bureau in dismantling criminal groups.
These briefings have proven beneficial and have attracted considerable local and media attention. In most instances, the Bureau received prominent reporting in local newspapers including front page articles in many cases.
Following the briefings and as a result of the success of CAB’s operations, the Bureau has noticed a dramatic increase in valuable information and support from the general public.
In order to provide a service to all Garda Divisions, the Bureau trains selected local Gardaí as Asset Profilers. In essence, their job is to identify local criminals with assets and submit a basic profile on those criminals to the Bureau for evaluation as a potential full target.
As of 30th September 2020, there are currently 469 Divisional Asset Profilers throughout the State who have been trained by the Bureau in the area of identifying and targeting the proceeds of crime and associated investigations. They are primarily made up of members of An Garda Síochána (444), as well as personnel from the Revenue/Customs (17) and Social Protection (8).
In addition, the Bureau has also given Asset Profiler training to Officers from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Insolvency Service of Ireland and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
Information to the Bureau
If you wish to provide information to the Bureau, you can do so via the Bureau’s email address at [email protected] or by post to Criminal Assets Bureau, Harcourt Square, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 or alternatively by telephone on 01 6663266.
The Bureau is also partnered with CRIMESTOPPERS (freephone 1800 25 00 25) to facilitate the provision of information from members of the public.