The annual report of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) shows that it returned €6.3 million to the State last year – up from €5.5 million in 2021.
CAB was established under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 to fight organised crime and disrupt the activities of criminal gangs.
According to its annual report, it brought 18 new applications before the High Court – a lower number than in 2021.
The majority of these actions related to the proceeds of drug trafficking, with many of the remainder linked to burglary and money-laundering.
The bureau blamed the fall in applications mainly on increased demands on the service, and resourcing issues in the Criminal Assets Section (CAS) of the Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO), which provides a dedicated legal service to the CAB.
A request for a “significant increase” in staffing levels at CAS was approved last year, but the head of the CAB, Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins (pictured) said that that there had been no uplift in legal resources in 2022 due to recruitment challenges.
He added, however, that CAB and the CAS expected to see the benefits of increased staff numbers this year.
In November 2022, the bureau moved to a new state-of-the-art building in Walter Scott House, Dublin 8.
Gubbins added, however, that the new building was “insufficient for the bureau’s current and future requirements”. He has set up a working group, with the backing of the Department of Justice, to address this issue.
During 2022, CAB conducted 49 search operations, consisting of 134 individual searches across 20 counties.
CAB was granted orders to freeze 160 assets worth almost €5.2 million during 2022. A breakdown showed that €3.2 million were financial assets, while almost €1.3 million were property assets.
Even though the number of assets frozen was down compared with 2021, the value of these assets was more than €2 million higher.
The report also shows that €3.2 million in taxes were recovered by the bureau during 2022, and that 15 individuals settled outstanding tax liabilities worth almost €2 million with the bureau.