The Irish Times view on the Criminal Assets Bureau: a policing success

The agency combines international cooperation, local intelligence gathering and effective management

Increasing sophistication by criminal gangs, in disguising their assets through apparently legitimate business and in offshore enterprises, has prompted a step-change in policing. Photograph: Press 22

Increasing sophistication by criminal gangs, in disguising their assets through apparently legitimate business and in offshore enterprises, has prompted a step-change in policing. Photograph: Press 22

 

The seizure of €1.7 million in cash by officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) is a significant coup for the organisation. Most of the money was vacuum-packed prior to being sent abroad in an alleged money-laundering exercise. It was seized at locations in Wexford and in Dublin.

These operations have also involved seizing monies that arose from burglaries and robberies at homes, farms and commercial premises by groups of criminals.

Increasing sophistication by criminal gangs in disguising their assets through apparently legitimate businesses and in offshore enterprises has prompted a step-change in policing.

The Cab and its activities represent a success story in Irish policing

Co-operation with police in other jurisdictions and domestic-intelligence gathering has identified a number of garages in the UK and Ireland that are owned or controlled by organised gangs and used to launder money through the high-end motor trade. There is official concern that the largely unregulated second-hand car market is being used for this purpose.

CAB searches in Limerick were part of a planned, intelligence led operation. File photograph: PA Wire
CAB searches in Limerick were part of a planned, intelligence led operation. File photograph: PA Wire

At local level, the Cab has become much more active in targeting individuals who exhibit a flashy lifestyle, linked to the proceeds of drug dealing or other crimes. Gardaí, Revenue and social welfare officials co-operate in that profiling exercise and, following a reduction from €13,000 to €5,000 in the value of assets that may be seized, the agency confiscated materials worth some €14 million last year.

The number of seizures nearly tripled. The Cab and its activities represent a success story in Irish policing. Established more than 20 years ago, following the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, it is a strong combination of international co-operation, local intelligence gathering and effective management.

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