Key hires were made by the ODCE in 2017 with a view to enhancing its investigative capabilities, according to its 2017 annual report.
Severe criticism of its investigation into Anglo Irish Bank and Seán Fitzpatrick forced the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) to review its investigative practices and procedures. Lessons have been learned.
Key hires included a digital forensic specialist, an investigative accountant and two enforcement portfolio managers. The ODCE also filled a Detective Inspector position which had been vacant for some time, and a garda position, bringing the garda complement back to 7 members. (Gardaí working with the ODCE are seconded from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau).
Advancements are also reported to have been made to the ODCE's forensic capabilities.
The establishment of a dedicated digital forensics laboratory, with onsite file storage solutions, including evidence storage solutions to ensure chain of evidence procedures, has reduced the ODCE's reliance on third-party contractors and An Garda Síochána. The annual report states that the portable digital forensics capability assists with the onsite interrogation of devices and corporate networks when executing search warrants, and allows investigators to identify and remove relevant information without any disruption to corporate networks.
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS & PROSECUTIONS
The report indicates that the ODCE will continue to focus on serious wrongdoing, and will devote less resources to pursuing criminality on the less serious end of the spectrum. Successful convictions in 2017 included: