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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C via Flickr
Criminal Assets Bureau takings now over €133million
The CAB handed more than €7million to the Exchequer last year, amid suggestions its methods could be rolled out across Europe.

THE CRIMINAL ASSETS Bureau has now seized more than €133million of illicit profits from criminal activity since its foundation in 1996, according to its latest figures.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said that the Bureau’s methods – which involve confiscating the proceeds of crime, rather than chasing convictions – are so successful that he is working to establish a Europe-wide system along the same lines.

Last year the CAB handed €3.1million to the Exchequer which it had obtained in court proceedings under Proceeds of Crime laws. It also collected more than €4million in taxes using Revenue legislation.

Its latest annual report reveals that the Bureau also recovered just over €180,000 from social welfare overpayments, with the majority coming from jobseeker’s allowance and one parent family payments.

The Bureau took action against 85 people over social welfare payments, resulting in a number of benefits being stopped. The CAB said this delivered €630,000 in savings to the Department of Social Protection – with more than one-third of the savings in the single parent family payments.

Carer’s allowance was also a significant contributor, with savings totalling €182,000. This was much greater than the amount saved by stopping jobseeker’s benefit payments, which was less than €70,000.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter welcomed the report, saying it “once again highlights the success of the Bureau in targeting the proceeds of criminal activity.”

He said the bureau “has gained much recognition, not only within the State, but also on the international stage”, adding:

I am therefore pursuing an initiative at European level to establish a European wide non-conviction based confiscation regime similar to that of the Criminal Assets Bureau. I believe such a measure will add real value to European cooperation in targeting the proceeds of crime

The Criminal Assets Bureau had a budget of €6.5million in 2010, with more than €5million of that spent on payroll costs.

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