Fifty individuals and companies were assessed for tax on criminal assets of over €11m, as the Criminal Assets Bureau -CAB- froze almost €65m in assets last year.
The CAB annual report for 2019 shows that bureau officers returned in excess of €3.9m to the Exchequer, including around €1.6m under the Proceeds of Crime legislation, €2m collected under Revenue legislation and over €300,000 in social welfare overpayments.
CAB froze nearly €65m in assets - a significant increase on 2018 - due largely to the granting of a freezing order OF over €53m in cryptocurrency.
The Bitcoin seizure is believed to be the largest single-value asset ever seized by CAB.
It followed a High Court ruling in February which ruled that the bitcoin, owned by 49-year-old Clifton Collins, was the proceeds of crime and should be surrendered.
However, CAB is not yet able to access the cryptocurrency as the codes to access the Bitcoin are missing.
Revenue Bureau Officers assessed a total of 50 individuals and companies under the provisions of the Tax Acts, resulting in a total tax figure of €11.7m.
Tax demands were served to the value of €5.8m.
In relation to Social Welfare investigations, a number of individuals had their payments either terminated or reduced, resulting in a total savings of €2.3m.
A total of 31 new applications were brought before the High Court under the Proceeds of Crime legislation, which marks a period of continued growth in new cases.
The majority of these actions were taken against assets gained from the proceeds of drug trafficking, followed by actions relating to frauds and thefts of various categories.
CAB trained 105 profilers in 2019 in Garda Divisions throughout the State, building a 473-strong network by year end.
This allows the organisation to ensure that there is a focus on local criminal targets throughout the State.
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan praised the CAB for the increased number of new applications being brought before the High Court.
"Criminal gangs are becoming more sophisticated in concealing their assets, which has necessitated changes in policing. CAB’s success in bringing a record number of cases before the Court in 2019 demonstrates their commitment and determination to their mission, and ability to counter the changing strategies of criminals," he said.
Mr Flanagan praised CAB as "an example of international best practice in law enforcement" and highlighted its work during Covid-19.
“The CAB continues to play an important role in deterring illegal activity by freezing and confiscating assets identified as coming from the proceeds of crime.
"The Bureau is an example of international best practice in law enforcement and demonstrates how we, as a country, can face up to our shared challenges.”
"I am pleased that CAB continues to carry out their important work during this period.
"Bureau officers continue to carry out searches, while abiding by Covid-19 protocols.
"PPE is currently being sourced to ensure interviews and other vital activities are uninterrupted," he said.