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No white collar crime prosecutions or convictions from ODCE over past two years – Maurice Quinlivan TD

8 November, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today revealed that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement have initiated zero prosecutions for white collar crime over the past two years, and as a result have achieved no convictions in the same period. 

Speaking today, Deputy Quinlivan said;

“These figures received in response to my Parliamentary Question show that in 2016 and 2017, no prosecutions have been initiated by the ODCE, and no convictions have been achieved by this ineffective agency in the same period.

“This is a disgraceful revelation, but comes as no surprise as the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement was revealed to be totally incompetent after the collapse of the Seán Fitzpatrick trial, due to the coaching of witness statements; the late disclosure of documents; a perceived bias by ODCE investigators; and the shredding of documents.

“The Minister’s justification for the total absence of prosecutions in the past two is to point out that the ODCE took a decision to ‘concentrate its resources on more serious and complex investigations.’ This is a bizarre explanation that fails to match the severity of the issue at hand. 

"The office should not have to choose which breaches of company law it investigates and brings prosecutions against; it should be resourced to investigate all white collar crime.

“In 2016, there were just 35 staff in the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. 35 staff in total to investigate and bring prosecutions against all breaches of company law in Ireland, it’s scandalous.

"It shows Fine Gael’s soft handed approach to white collar crime and the lack of priority they place on it.

“Only 43 prosecutions have been brought by the ODCE in the past decade, an outrageously low amount over this period of time.

“Public opinion is firmly of the belief that dependent on who you are and what your worth, this will have a material effect on how the criminal law applies to you. These figures reinforce that belief. 

“The government commissioned report into this flawed investigation by the ODCE has been with the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation since June 23rd of this year, yet despite my repeated requests for its findings to be released, the report remains unpublished by the Tánaiste.

"No doubt this report will highlight a lack of resources being provided by Fine Gael as a core problem. 

“White collar criminals in our banks bankrupted this country ten years ago, and the same institutions have now been revealed to have robbed hundreds of millions of euro from tracker mortgage customers.

"With no corporate investigation or prosecution structures in places, it is no surprise such behaviour continues. 

“Last week the Tánaiste announced new measures aimed at tackling white collar crime. These measures do not go nearly far enough, and a total overhaul of the investigation and prosecution of white collar crime is needed, in addition to significant funding to match the seriousness of these crimes.

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