The Criminal Assets Bureau seized nearly €6.4 million in “ill-gotten gains” last year while also charging 11 individuals and companies €8.9 million in tax debts, according to its annual report.
Seizures made under the Proceeds of Crime Act in 2022 included cash, real estate assets, luxury cars, watches such as Rolex, Breitling and Hublot, and goods such as Christine Louboutin shoes and Louis Vuitton bags.
The value of the assets seized as part of the new proceeds from criminal proceedings initiated by the authority ranged between 9,718 and 1,948,147 euros.
Among the cases highlighted in the report was the investigation into Dublin criminal Graham Whelan, who was allegedly involved in the drugs cartel led by Daniel Kinahan.
“The office alleged that the defendant was a key member of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group (OCG), an international OCG involved in the importation and distribution of drugs and firearms,” the report said.
The Supreme Court in January 2022 upheld a CAB decision to confiscate €78,000 and an Audemars Piguet watch worth €28,000 from Mr Whelan, all of which the court said were the proceeds of crime.
When Mr Whelan was staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin in early 2019, gardaí carried out a raid. They found a drug list, six mobile phones including an “encrochat” device, a small amount of controlled drugs, cash and the Audemars Piguet watch.
The report also referred to the seizure of a house in Saggart, west Dublin, in November 2022, which the Supreme Court ruled belonged to Daniel Kinahan. The house, valued at up to €800,000, was found to have been purchased with drug trafficking proceeds.
“The office’s investigation followed a criminal investigation in 2014,” the report said. “The individuals involved are known associates of an international organized crime group who are suspected of being involved in money laundering activities and the importation and supply of illegal drugs into Ireland.”
Releasing the report, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she was “determined to further strengthen the legislation underlying the CAB”.
“Work is ongoing on the general scheme of the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2023, which I hope to submit to government by the end of the year.”