The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) said yesterday it hopes to have six forensic accountants in place by the end of the summer.
In a move to beef up its investigations unit - in line with its strategic shift to investigate more serious ‘white-collar’ crime - the ODCE said three of the forensic accountants or investigators have started work at the office in recent weeks.
“There is plenty of work for the three to do and we would hope to have three more in place by the end of the summer,” a spokesperson said.
“The work they do is critically important in investigating white collar crime.”
In the ODCE’s 2015 annual report, director, Ian Drennan said the appointment of the forensic accountants will greatly enhance the office’s capacity to advance its investigations and investigative capabilities.
The new recruits will join with the six Gardaí currently on secondment from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in tackling alleged ‘white collar’ crime.
The latest annual report shows the ODCE had 18 individuals and companies under investigation, at the end of the year, with a view to referring matters to the DPP.
Mr. Drennan said in addition to these cases one file was referred to the DPP and one case was before the courts.
“Our ambition to tackle more serious criminality is not, however, without its consequences and risks. Investigations into more serious matters tend to be on a large scale and to involve matters of greater complexity.
"This gives rise to an opportunity cost in that, by definition, a smaller portfolio of cases can be run at any given time,” he said.
The report records that 31 of the 33 charges that former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm is facing are based on matters which were the subject of investigations carried out by the ODCE.
The shift in the OCDE’s focus to more serious crime resulted in the number of district court cases it pursued last year declining from ten to three.
The figures show the number of complaints made by members of the public to the ODCE last year increased by 23% to 290.
A breakdown of the complaints show that 75 related to directors’ conduct with 24 relating to allegations of forgery and furnishing of false information.
A further 20 related to reckless/fraudulent/insolvent trading.
The ODCE was allocated €5.1m last year but at the end of the year had spent €3m. This arose from vacancies that arose during the year and legal costs that were less than anticipated.
Its annual report also confirms that last year out of 1,269 liquidators reports two contained content regarding possible criminality.
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