There are a number of bodies, regulatory and otherwise, which investigate corporate crime in Ireland. These include An Garda Síochana (the Irish police), the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (the Revenue Commissioners), the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Office of the Data Protection Commission (ODPC).
Offences are divided between summary (minor) offences and indictable (serious) offences. In general, regulatory bodies are authorised to prosecute summary offences. However, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is the relevant body for the prosecution of criminal offences on indictment. The DPP has no investigative functions; the relevant regulatory or investigating body prepare a file and submit it to the DPP for consideration. It is then solely at the discretion of the DPP as to whether a case will be taken in respect of the suspected offence. The Central Bank of Ireland also has investigatory and regulatory powers, including powers of inspection, entry, search and seizure, in respect of financial institutions under the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended.
The detection and investigation of criminal conduct is the core function of the Irish police force. The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) is a subdivision of the Irish police that also provides assistance in investigations of serious fraud. The GBFI is governed by the same statutory framework as the Irish police and therefore has no specific investigative powers for the specialised work it carries out. The Criminal Justice Act 2011 granted both bodies a more extensive suite of powers in order to adequately deal with the complex nature of corporate crime. Connected with the Irish police and the GBFI is the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).2 The primary function of CAB is to carry out investigations into the suspected proceeds of criminal conduct. In carrying out this function, CAB, working alongside the Irish police, is empowered to search and seize any assets suspected of deriving from criminal activity,3 and may arrest any persons obstructing an official investigation.4
Following the introduction of the Companies Act 2014, the ODCE maintains its function as the principal corporate enforcer in the state, and is responsible for investigating instances of suspected offences under, and noncompliance with, company law. The ODCE is afforded a wide variety of...