Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to become independent statutory agency
Ministers have approved the publication of legislation to transition the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) into an independent statutory agency with additional resources to investigate and prosecute white collar crime.
The Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2021 will strengthen Ireland’s corporate and economic regulatory framework ahead of a “likely significant increase” in corporate insolvencies resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ian Drennan, the director of corporate enforcement, said: “The approval by government of legislation paving the way for the establishment of the Corporate Enforcement Authority marks a watershed moment in Ireland’s strategic approach towards addressing economic and white collar crime.
“With enhanced autonomy and significantly increased levels of investigative assets – including additional legal and digital forensics professionals and seconded members of An Garda Síochána – the CEA will assume the ODCE’s current caseload and will, I anticipate, continue to build on the ODCE’s forensic and robust approach towards tackling serious breaches of company law and associated wrongdoing in both civil and criminal realms.
“Against the backdrop of a likely significant increase in corporate insolvencies resulting from the Covid pandemic, approval of the bill at this juncture is a timely development.”
Compared to the ODCE, the new statutory agency will gain additional investigative powers in the areas of surveillance, search warrants and the participation by civilian investigators in suspect interviews, arising from the recommendations of the Hamilton Review Group.