CAB probes record 1,770 targets across the country as €5.5m in assets is returned to State
8th July 2022
The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is investigating a record number of 1,770 targets across the country.
These targets are either criminal groupings or individuals.
The bureau also handed more than €5m back to the Exchequer last year, of which €1.14m was seized as the proceeds of crime.
Around €4.4m was taken in taxes and €300,000 was from social welfare overpayments.
CAB had possession of a total of 61 properties across the country at the end of last year.
More than €45,000 was raised in an online auction last December in which 55 seized designer items – including handbags, watches and clothes – went on sale, while the bureau gained another €653,000 from the sale of four properties.
A geographical breakdown of CAB’s targets reveals the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West Garda division, which polices areas including Blanchardstown, Finglas and Clondalkin, had the highest number of targets at 293.
In Limerick there were 147 CAB targets, while 139 were in the capital’s DMR North division.
The county with the least targets was Mayo, which had only six, followed by Cork North (13) and Cork West (14).
At the end of last year, CAB was targeting 27 criminals not resident in Ireland.
Between 1996 and 2021, a total of €204m was returned to the Exchequer, comprising €165m in tax settlements, €33m in proceeds of crime and €6m in social welfare recoupments.
More than 360 proceeds-of-crime applications have been brought to the courts, involving almost €170m in assets.
CAB had 552 profilers working with it at the end of last year in divisions across the State, made up of 527 gardaí, 17 customs officers and eight officers from the Department of Social Protection.
This allows the organisation to ensure there is a focus on local criminal targets throughout the State.
Commenting on the report, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: “CAB has been a vital tool in our arsenal in the fight against organised crime.
“CAB hits criminals where it hurts – in their pockets – by targeting the ill-gotten gains of criminal conduct.
“In 2021, the 25th anniversary of the bureau, over €5.5m was returned to the Exchequer.
“I am also pleased to note the recovery and return in one notable instance of €5.4m to six defrauded injured parties.
“Earlier this year I launched the Community Safety Innovation Fund Scheme, which will reinvest proceeds of crime seized by CAB back into the communities that need it. We are also looking at how best to support CAB in its important work – last year my department completed a review which presented a number of recommendations.
“One which I am intending to pursue as a priority is reducing the timeframe for the making of a ‘disposal order’.
“At the moment, once the High Court has determined that an asset is a proceed of crime, it can take a further seven years before it may be ultimately confiscated.”
She added, “My intention is to substantially reduce the statutory timeframe before a ‘disposal order’ can be made from seven years.
“Reducing this period would mean that those who generate criminal assets cannot benefit from them for extended periods.”