Banks notified Revenue of 23,422 suspicious transactions last year

Audits linked to such reports yielded €5.5m for tax authority in 2017

When Revenue receives an STR, it is linked to the relevant taxpayer’s record and assigned a risk rating.  Photograph: Joe St Leger

When Revenue receives an STR, it is linked to the relevant taxpayer’s record and assigned a risk rating. Photograph: Joe St Leger

 

Banks and other designated bodies last year notified the Revenue Commissioners and Garda of 23,422 suspicious financial transactions, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said.

In a written Dáil reply to Clare Daly TD, Mr Donohoe confirmed that the yield to Revenue from audit cases involving suspicious transaction reports (STRs) totalled €5.5 million in 2017, with final 2018 figures to be available in May.

Mr Donohoe said designated bodies are required to submit a STR to Revenue and the Garda where they suspect a money-laundering offence may have been committed.

He said: “Tax evasion is a predicate offence for money laundering. In cases where the STR relates to other criminal activity it becomes a matter for An Garda Síochána. ”

Mr Donohoe confirmed that the number of STRs recorded last year represented a 5 per cent drop on the 24,232 STRs recorded in 2017.

Last year’s total is nonetheless the second highest annual number since 2009.

Legislation

The Minister said the STRs received from designated bodies, including financial institutions, are made under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding) Act.

He said that when Revenue receives an STR, it is linked to the relevant taxpayer’s record, assigned a risk rating, and the data is incorporated into each taxpayer’s risk profile. This informs “Revenue’s decision as to the nature of any compliance intervention that may be appropriate having regards to the overall risk”.

Mr Donohoe said he did not believe that a useful link could be made between the level of STRs reported and the need for the public to be vigilant about fraudsters.