Proceeds of crime legislation in Ireland
In an innovative move to combat organised crime, Ireland established the multi-agency Criminal Assets Bureau in 1996. The Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 which lies at the centre of the co-ordinated powers of the CAB enables the Bureau to deal with the proceeds of crime not as part of the criminal process as it is wholly unrelated to any criminal proceedings against a defendant at all. Essentially it uses the civil courts and operates entirely outside the criminal justice system. In the first part of a two-part article Michael Ashe and Paula Reid examine the structure and operation of the Criminal Assets Bureau and consider in detail the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996
In August 1996, a new specialist agency, called the Criminal Assets Bureau (hereinafter “the Bureau”) was established in Ireland.
It was established by the
Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996
(the “CAB Act”). This legislation was part of a series of legislative initiatives enacted over the summer of 1996 in response
to increasing public concern about the level of organised crime in Ireland and the murder of one of the country’s top crime
investigative journalists, Veronica Guerin. The Bureau is somewhat innovative in law enforcement terms insofar as it is a
multi-disciplinary agency staffed by not only the Garda Siochana (the Irish police) but also from the Revenue Commissioners
and the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs. Personnel from these three departments are seconded to the Bureau
for a period of time. The Bureau also works closely with the Customs, Taxes and Social Welfare authorities and with the relevant
garda unit such as the Garda National Drugs Unit, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Gardai Bureau of Fraud
Investigation. The functions of the Bureau are set out in
of the Act: first, identification of the assets wherever situated, of persons which derive or are suspected to derive, directly
or indirectly from criminal activity; secondly, the taking of appropriate action under the law to deprive or to deny to those
persons of the benefit of such assets, in whole or in part as may be appropriate; thirdly, the pursuit of any investigation
or the doing of any other preparatory work in relation to any proceedings arising from these two objectives.
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