Irish law with regard to money laundering and the proceeds of crime was overhauled radically in July of 2010 by the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act of 2010.
The legislation is the Irish condensed verision of various EU Directives as implemented here. It covers transactions within and outside Ireland and is global in it reach.
It applies to any person or corporate entity that handles or deals in money or assets, even if not for a profit.Commercial life is truly global and competitive to such an extent that legitimate business people and companies can find themselves unwittingly the subject of a probe by the Garda Fraud Bureau and/or the Criminal Assets Bureau. Recessionary Ireland has meant that cash strapped businesses are now asking less questions when presented with new business opportunities. The Gardai now have truly breathtaking powers to liberally freeze assests for long periods of time .The people or business on the receiving end are overwhelmed by a probe and the effect can be irreparable to solvency and reputation.
One welcome section in the Act of 2010, concerns section 20, where merit can be demonstrated a person is entitled to apply to the District Court for the payment out of frozen funds to keep a business afloat and allow it to trade and discharge it’s legal expenses. It remains to seen how the section will operate in practice.
Peter Connolly has had some experience both as a prosecutor (in particular advising professional persons whether they should make suspicious transactions reports) and a defence solicitor in defending freezing and confiscation orders. If a person or business entity is hit with the full force of a money laundering probe, the tendency may be to cave in and I cannot stress enough that the immediate response should be engage specialist legal advice at once. You may have an avenue open to either defend the probe completely, limit its damage and length, or more importantly insulate yourself from possible prosecution.
This blog is a promotional tool only and queries on its content or advice on the operation of any of the provisions of the act or on money laundering generally please contact Peter Connolly directly.