New authority to crack down on corporate misconduct

New authority to crack down on corporate misconduct

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) has now become a statutory and independent agency called the Corporate Enforcement Authority, with additional resources to investigate and prosecute official crimes.

The government will increase the workforce by almost 50%, including a doubling of the number of guards.

The agency’s budget has also been increased by almost 30%.

“We are giving it the right teeth and ensuring that it has the autonomy and resources to thoroughly investigate suspected crimes, such as fraudulent trafficking and larger, more complex company law violations,” said Tánaiste and Minister of Trade and Industry Leo Varadkar. .

He said he is confident that the extra staff and additional funding will ensure that the new authority can really make a difference.

The authority is now equipped with significant enforcement powers, including the power to issue a series of warning instructions or notices, the power to enter and search premises and the power to bring brief prosecutions.

The decisions on the entry into force of the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Act 2021 and the establishment of the Corporate Enforcement Authority were signed by Tánaiste on 5 July and 6 July respectively.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said that corruption and “white collar crime” are damaging our economy and a threat to our international reputation.

“While we are a small country, we are a global financial services center with the size of the financial sector here that continues to grow significantly in recent years,” she said.

“When ‘white collar’ criminals run their businesses in Ireland, they must be reminded, without uncertain terms, that Ireland is not a sanctuary and criminals will be prosecuted.

“The significant investment in an independent and more powerful Corporate Enforcement Authority will strengthen our deterrence and is further evidence of the government’s commitment to tackling crime,” she added.

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Prime Minister in charge of company law Robert Troy said that the establishment of the new authority will give consumers and companies confidence that alleged violations of company law will be effectively investigated and prosecuted.

“The signing of a memorandum between the new authority and An Garda Síochána will also ensure effective cooperation between these bodies,” he added.

Mr Troy said his department would continue to work with the new authority to ensure it has the appropriate legislative tools needed to improve Ireland’s company law framework.

Robert Troy said the new company law watchdog will have the power, resources and expertise to deal with civil servants’ crimes, which he described as “a threat to society”.

Mr Troy said that official crime “harms our economy and damages international reputation”.

“So it is important that we have a body in place with the powers, resources and expertise to deal with company law violations,” he added.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the Corporate Enforcement Authority will be independent and will have the power to ensure that any person or company that violates company law “will bear the consequences.”

The CEA will have greater independence to recruit the expertise it needs and additional resources to handle larger, more complex investigations, he explained.

Mr Troy said the new body would have an increased budget and that there would be a doubling of staff and daycare facilities allocated to the area.

“It will have real power, real teeth,” he said with the transfer of existing powers from the Office of Corporate Enforcement.

It will have the power to investigate suspected crimes, the power to enter premises and confiscate documents, and the power to prosecute short-term crimes and refer prosecuted crimes to the DPP, he said.

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