New milestone law will see CEA crack down on larger scale and more complex breaches of company law
Tuesday 17 August 2021
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Company Law, Robert Troy TD, have secured Government approval to publish the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2021, which will transform the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) into a statutory and independent agency with additional resources to investigate and prosecute white collar crime.
The Tánaiste said:
“This Bill when enacted will be a milestone in the area of corporate enforcement in Ireland. The new Corporate Enforcement Authority will have more autonomy and resources to investigate suspected wrongdoing and to deal with larger, more complex investigations.
“With new technology and more sophisticated economic crime, it is more important than ever that we have a well-resourced, standalone agency, to identify those non-compliant with company law. The new CEA will tackle allegations of company law breaches and investigate alleged criminal activity in the areas of fraudulent trading and dishonest dealings before a company becomes insolvent among other breaches of company law.
“We have seen how intricate and complex some of these breaches can be and how hard it is to secure prosecutions. As a statutorily independent agency, the CEA will have more autonomy to recruit the specialist staff it needs. My Department will continue to work with the new CEA to ensure it has the appropriate legislative tools to undertake corporate law enforcement.
“I am pleased that this new Authority will have all the necessary human resources required, both Civil Service and members of An Garda Síochána, to pursue breaches of Company Law. Already, the budget of the ODCE has been increased by 20% or €1 million to €6.057 million and my Department has sanctioned 14 additional staff to be assigned to the CEA. The permanent complement of members of An Garda Síochána will double from seven to 16 and so the CEA’s total headcount will have increased nearly 50% over existing levels.”
It is intended that the Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2021 will be introduced to the Houses of the Oireachtas in September 2021.
Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital & Company RegulationRobert Troy TD said:
“White-collar crime is a menace to society, with huge consequences for the economy – both nationally and internationally. Consumers and businesses need to have confidence that alleged breaches of company law will be effectively investigated and prosecuted. Now that we have secured Government approval, we can further progress the establishment of an independent and strengthened Corporate Enforcement Authority.
“This legislation has been in development since the Government adopted a package of measures to enhance Ireland’s corporate, economic and regulatory framework in October 2017. The establishment of the Corporate Enforcement Authority is an important part of that plan, as well as a key commitment in the Programme for Government, and was further reaffirmed by the report of the Hamilton Review Group late last year.
“This Bill further strengthens Ireland’s regulatory framework for the conduct of business, and I would hope that it could be enacted in the Autumn session paving the way for the establishment of the CEA next year.”