Govt approves legislation to establish Corporate Enforcement Authority

The Government has approved the publication of the Companies Bill 2021, which will transform the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement into a statutory and independent agency with additional resources to investigate and prosecute white collar crime.

When the Bill is enacted, the new authority will have more powers to deal with larger, more complex investigations into alleged criminal activity such as fraudulent trading.

Director of Corporate Enforcement, Ian Drennan, said the approval by Government of the legislation marks a watershed moment in Ireland’s strategic approach towards addressing economic and white collar crime.

“With enhanced autonomy and significantly increased levels of investigative assets – including additional legal and digital forensics professionals and seconded members of An Garda Síochána – the Corporate Enforcement Authority will assume the ODCE’s current caseload and will, I anticipate, continue to build on the ODCE’s forensic and robust approach towards tackling serious breaches of company law and associated wrongdoing in both civil and criminal realms.”

Mr Drennan said the approval of the Bill is timely against the backdrop of a likely significant increase in corporate insolvencies resulting from the pandemic.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, said we have seen how intricate and complex some breaches of company law can be and how hard it is to secure prosecutions. He said, as a statutorily independent agency, the CEA will have more autonomy to recruit the specialist staff it needs.

“I am pleased that this new Authority will have all the necessary human resources required, both Civil Service and members of An Garda Síochána, to pursue breaches of Company Law,” the Tánaiste said.

“Already, the budget of the ODCE has been increased by 20% or €1 million to €6.057 million and my Department has sanctioned 14 additional staff to be assigned to the CEA.”

“The permanent complement of members of An Garda Síochána will double from seven to 16 and so the CEA’s total headcount will have increased nearly 50% over existing levels.”

The Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2021 will be introduced to the Houses of the Oireachtas in September.

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital & Company Regulation Robert Troy said white-collar crime is a menance to society with huge consequences for the economy nationally and internationally.

“This Bill further strengthens Ireland’s regulatory framework for the conduct of business, and I would hope that it could be enacted in the Autumn session paving the way for the establishment of the CEA next year,” he said.

Director of Corporate Enforcement, Ian Drennan, welcomed the development which he said was timely as it comes against the backdrop of a likely significant increase in corporate insolvencies resulting from the Covid pandemic.

“The approval by Government of legislation paving the way for the establishment of the Corporate Enforcement Authority marks a watershed moment in Ireland’s strategic approach towards addressing economic and white collar crime,” he said.

“With enhanced autonomy and significantly increased levels of investigative assets – including additional legal and digital forensics professionals and seconded members of An Garda Síochána – the CEA will assume the ODCE’s current caseload and will, I anticipate, continue to build on the ODCE’s forensic and robust approach towards tackling serious breaches of company law and associated wrongdoing in both civil and criminal realms.”

Article Source – Govt approves legislation to establish Corporate Enforcement Authority – RTE

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