11 March 2021

 Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform, James Browne TD, today welcomed the passage through the Dáil of two pieces of criminal legislation,

          The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill – which will strengthen existing anti-money laundering legislation and will give effect to provisions of the Fifth EU Money Laundering Directive, and

          The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) (Amendment) Bill, which gives effect to EU Directive 2017/1371 on the fight against fraud to the European Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law.

Addressing the passing of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill, the Minister said,

This Bill ensures that our regulatory framework keeps pace with the increasing integration of financial flows in the internal market, the evolving trends, technological developments and the prevention of organised crime.

 In line with international standards adopted by the Financial Action Task Force, and the European Union’s legislative framework, Ireland has developed a solid regulatory framework for preventing money laundering.

This Bill will strengthen existing anti-money laundering legislation and contains a renewed focus on gatekeepers of financial systems. It ensures that there is increasing transparency by bringing further institutions within the scope of the Irish anti-money laundering regulatory framework and by combatting the use of new trends and technologies employed by criminals.

Commenting on the passing of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) (Amendment) Bill, Minister of State Browne said,

Fraud against the EU’s financial interests affects everyone, and this Bill reflects an important update of Ireland’s already strong regime against it. Tackling economic crime and white-collar crime is a priority for this Government and for An Garda Síochána.

The Department published the findings of the Hamilton Review Group on 3 December 2020 and, as Minister McEntee pointed out at that time, these crimes damage our economy, breed cynicism in our society and are a threat to our international reputation.

The Department of Justice is leading a cross-Government initiative to tackle these crimes and to ensure that all agencies have the resources they need.

The Directive establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions with regard to combatting fraud and other illegal activities (corruption and money laundering) affecting the EU’s financial interests.

Minister Browne concluded,

By passing these 2 important pieces of legislation today, we are giving effect to the current EU Anti-Money laundering measures and providing for the changes necessary to ensure Ireland plays its part in tackling fraud against the interests of the European Union

This is not only important  in the context of honouring our commitments as an EU Member State but is also important in showing that our dedication to combatting money laundering and tackling white-collar crime are reflected at a national level and in our engagements with our European counterparts.

Both Bills will now be sent to President Higgins for his signature.