The FATF mutual evaluation report on Ireland concludes that Ireland has a sound and substantially effective regime to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing, but could do more. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) published its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) on Ireland following its assessment of Ireland’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system. The FATF also published an executive summary of the Report and a presentation of the key findings, ratings and priorities. The MER provides a summary of the AML/CFT measures in place in Ireland as at the date of the FATF's on-site visit in November 2016. It analyses the level of effectiveness of Ireland’s AML/CFT regime as well as its level of technical compliance with the FATF recommendations and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.
The MER concludes that “Ireland has a sound and substantially effective regime to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing….”. Moreover, the MER highlights that “National coordination mechanisms.……and the Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF) were fruitful in broadening the understanding of its money laundering (ML) and Terrorist Financing (TF) risks across all relevant agencies and with the private sector.”
Priority Actions for Ireland to strengthen its AML/CFT System include the following:
- Ireland’s understanding of risks should include a more comprehensive range of quantitative data, such as those in relation to international cooperation (both formal and informal). Ireland should at the next iteration of the National Risk Assessment (NRA), better illustrate the links between the threat and vulnerabilities assessment and give greater consideration to the cross-border ML/TF risks. Financial Institutions (FIs) and Designated non-financial businesses and professionals (DNFBPs) (in particular) should seek to further deepen their ML/TF risks understanding, particularly in relation to cross-border ML/TF risks.
- Ireland should more actively pursue TF prosecutions in line with its risk profile, with a view to securing TF convictions.
- Ireland should seek to prosecute a wider range of ML cases, including both domestic cases and cases with an international component, relating to professional ML schemes and complex financial products, in line with its risk profile. Ireland should ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the dedicated ML investigation teams.
- Authorities should further enhance efforts to pursue the proceeds of crime moved offshore. Ireland should review and strengthen its asset confiscation legislation, procedures and policies in relation to international asset freezing, seizing, confiscation and sharing of assets. Authorities should also ensure that the expansion of their remit to cover mid-level criminality does not impact the focus on, and resources committed to, targeting high-level organised crime figures and complex financial crime.
- It is recommended that focused and proportionate measures be applied to non- profit organisations (NPOs) identified as being vulnerable to TF abuse.
- Ireland should ensure that there are adequate procedures in place to safeguard the role of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and ensure its independence.
- Ireland should take further steps to ensure competent authorities can have timely and accurate access to beneficial ownership information including from FIs and DNFBPs. In this sense, Ireland should continue to take proactive steps to facilitate the operation of the central register of corporate beneficial ownership.
- The Department of Justice and Equality (DoJE) should continue to expand its monitoring of entities under its remit, and increase its resources accordingly.
- Supervisors, in particular for DNFBPs, should further focus on ensuring compliance with politically exposed persons (PEPs) and targeted financial sanctions (TFS) obligations. The Law Society and designated accountancy bodies should apply effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for non-compliance with AML/CFT requirements.
- Ireland should amend its legislative framework to address the technical deficiencies noted in the technical compliance (TC) Annex in the MER, such as for some DNFBPs, and in relation to PEPs and high-risk countries. Many of these issues will be captured when the fourth anti money laundering Directive (4AMLD) is implemented.