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Bill to speed up seizure of crime assets
(Pic: RollingNews.ie)

18 Jan 2024 / legislation Print

Bill to speed up seizure of criminal assets

The Minister for Justice has said that she expects a bill to give the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) greater powers to be drafted and brought before the Oireachtas this year.

She was speaking after the Government gave the go-ahead for the drafting of the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2024.

The bill amends 1996 legislation that introduced the civil non-conviction-based model used in Ireland for the confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

‘Immediate action’

Minister McEntee said that the bill would strengthen CAB’s ability to target the criminal assets by speeding up the process.

“This new bill will ensure that when a court determines that property is the proceeds of crime, immediate action can be taken to ensure that the holder immediately loses the benefit of it,” she stated.

At the moment, once the High Court has determined that an asset is a proceed of crime, it can take at least seven years before it may be ultimately confiscated and sold off. The bill would reduce that period to two years, according to the minister.

Exchange of information

The key measures included in the bill are:

  • A reduction from seven years to two years in the time between an order being made that assets are the proceeds of crime, and a final disposal order being available in respect of those assets,
  • Immediate and automatic appointment of a receiver to deprive respondents of the benefit of the assets,
  • Limitations on a respondent's ability to re-open the question of whether assets are proceeds of crime at the point of a disposal order being sought,
  • Enhanced restraint and asset-detention powers prior to the High Court process, and
  • Improved domestic and international information-exchange powers.

After the Government approves publication of the bill, the general scheme of the bill will be sent to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice for pre-legislative scrutiny.

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