pushing on CAB hearings to go ahead during Level 5 lockdown, judge rules
A judge has said that Criminal Assets Bureau hearings will go ahead during the county's Level 5 lockdown and he will make himself available to sit using a virtual courtroom.
Justice Alexander Owens told legal representatives from the Bureau that he was happy to hear the list and push on with cases despite the restrictions.
A host of criminals including Cabra brothers David and Christopher Waldron, Ross Browning and Robert ‘Roo’ Redmond are currently before the courts for proceeds of crime cases as the Bureau seizes their assets.
However, raids on targets around the country are expected to be suspended in the coming weeks in line with procedures during the last lockdown.
Sources say officers will be busy with the massive amounts of paperwork that go hand in hand with every individual case.
Searches are just one small part of the overall work of the Bureau where mounds of affidavits and case work has to be completed to move proceeds of crime matters through the courts and through legal orders.
Despite restrictions in the Criminal court services, Justice Owens insisted this week that he will keep the wheels of justice churning for those on the CAB books and confirmed that he will work virtually over the coming weeks to set hearing dates and timelines for defending affidavits to be completed.
By the beginning of 2020 the Bureau had 1367 targets on it’s books and has already got over 60 cases before the courts at various stages in the process.
It is currently in control of more than 45 seized properties two which have been the subject of recent arson attacks by criminals.
The portfolio of houses will come on the market before the end of this year and are likely to include the Raleigh Square home of Liam Byrne which was renovated to the tune of euro 750,000 before the keys were handed over to the Bureau.
The Criminal Assets Bureau have already conducted a number of major raids this year including one targeting a convicted West Cork drug dealer.
It has now trained up more than 400 officers who work as profilers around the country.
The local gardai identify unexplained wealth of potential targets in their own area and forward their information to officers working in Dublin. If those profiled meet the standards for CAB investigations a new target is established and the probe into their financial affairs begins.
In the past year the car industry has emerged as one of the most concerning when it comes to money laundering. The Bureau have identified a massive 100 second hand car dealerships where it is suspected dirty money is washed – a large proportion of them are in the west Dublin area.
Sources say that an unprecedented number of major gangland figures are involved in the trading of luxury SUVs and high end motors.
During its case against the Byrne Organised Crime Gang, the Bureau uncovered how the mob were using cars as currency but investigations are also centred on VAT scams, car financing and bogus repair facilities.