Beefed-up powers for crime watchdog

The State’s white collar crime watchdog is set to be given sweeping new powers to help it investigate complex cases in the wake of the collapse last year of the Sean FitzPatrick IBRC trial.

Beefed-up powers for crime watchdog

The State’s white collar crime watchdog is set to be given sweeping new powers to help it investigate complex cases in the wake of the collapse last year of the Sean FitzPatrick IBRC trial.

The Government will today agree new legislation to make the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement an independent statutory agency after a series of failures in how it handled the FitzPatrick case.

The new body, which will be known as the Corporate Enforcement Authority, will be made a “stand-alone” organisation to allow it to more easily recruit experts it needs for specific investigations.

In addition, it will also be given the right to appoint up to three commissioners to lead its work on the most complex cases.

Government sources last night said the beefed-up new powers will help the agency to close “shortcomings” in how it investigated the Sean FitzPatrick case and increase expertise on serious white collar crime claims.

However, despite the new law, cabinet will refuse to publish a detailed 235-page report — which includes 3,000 pages of appendices — into the reason for the changes amid fears this will reveal how the ODCE operates.

Instead, a limited 30-age “account” of events by the case’s presiding judge will be published.

The Sean FitzPatrick trial collapsed on May 23, 2017, after concerns over witness evidence heard in court and revelations documents had been shredded.

Judge John Aylmer subsequently directed the jury to acquit the ex-Anglo Irish Bank chairman of all charges relating to claims he misled auditors over loans issued to him during the Celtic Tiger.

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