Dáil Éireann - Volume 557 - 12 November, 2002
Written Answers. - Tax Compliance.
Mr. Rabbitte Mr. Rabbitte
131. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the action his Department has taken arising from the report of the Ansbacher inspectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21296/02]
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): My Department has been studying the report of the Ansbacher inspectors which was published last July. The parts of the report of particular concern to my Department relate to taxation matters, exchange control and the Central Bank. When this examination is fully completed, consideration will be given to what further measures are needed to counter the unacceptable tax behaviour criticised in the report.
In the interim the Deputy will no doubt be aware that I intend to introduce a Committee Stage amendment to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill, 2002, which will impose an obligation on the bank to report to the Revenue Commissioners any information that leads the bank to suspect that a criminal offence of tax evasion may have been committed by a supervised financial institution. The bank will also be obliged to report to the Revenue Commissioners any failure by a financial institution to report suspected cases of money laundering of the proceeds of tax evasion.
A second Bill, which has already been the subject of a public consultation process, will oblige the directors of financial institutions to certify each year that the institution is fully compliant with all of its statutory obligations. Auditors of these institutions will have to review the directors' compliance statement and disclose to the directors and to the new single financial regulator if they are not satisfied that it is accurate. The new regulator will also have a general right of oversight of corporate governance standards in institutions under its supervision. I expect to be in a position to present this Bill to the House in the first half of next year.
In addition, I understand that officials of the Revenue Commissioners recently met with the tax authorities of the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey and that discussions have commenced with a view to concluding agreements between Ireland and these states for the exchange of information in relation to certain tax matters.
Question No. 132 answered with Question No. 73.
Mr. Rabbitte Mr. Rabbitte
133. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance the number of individuals, companies and  trusts being investigated by the Revenue Commissioners arising from the Ansbacher accounts at the latest date for which figures are available; the number of cases where settlements have been agreed; the amount paid to date; the number of cases still outstanding; if additional action has been taken by the Revenue Commissioners arising from the Report of the Ansbacher Inspectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21295/02]
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that their Ansbacher review team has been carrying out detailed investigations since October 1999. The investigation has essentially two elements. There are Ansbacher type arrangements and there are other cases involving offshore funds and deposits.
Revenue has advised that the review team has inquired into 289 cases to date and six of these cases have concluded settlements with Revenue. The 289 cases, taking account of spouses and connected companies, consist of 300 names. The 289 cases are made up of 179 cases listed in the High Court inspectors' report and 110 similar cases discovered by Revenue or listed in the authorised officer's report.
A total of 210 cases have been under active investigation. The remaining cases consist of 62 non-resident persons, including 17 former Irish residents, 12 individuals who claimed the 1993 amnesty provisions and five cases with insufficient identity information.
The investigation includes examining the tax position of disclosed entities and accumulating and assembling information on other connected entities. The number of connected entities in relation to cases under investigation is now nearly 700.
Revenue is making extensive use of its legislative powers to seek books, records, documents and information in the cases being investigated. Where appropriate, prosecutions will be considered but these will depend on the level of evidence available.
Revenue has made five successful applications to the High Court for the production by financial institutions and third parties of books, records and other documentation, which are relevant to liabilities of Ansbacher account holders. Some 150,000 documents have been received under the terms of the High Court orders. Advanced investigative computer software is used in controlling and managing the documentation.
To date a total of €20.63 million has been received, mostly by way of payments on account, in respect of 59 cases. This is made up of:
 As regards the six cases which have been concluded, one had no additional liability and the other five cases were settled on payments amounting to €1.26 million, included above.
Revenue made an application under section 11 of the Companies Act, 1990, for a copy of the High Court inspectors' report and this was made available to Revenue on 6 July 2002. The information in this report has been carefully considered as regards the tax liabilities of the persons concerned. In addition, Revenue has made a further application to the High Court for access to the supporting papers to the High Court inspectors' report. The matter is scheduled for hearing by the High Court on 26 November 2002.
Revenue has informed me that the investigations are time-consuming and complex and are likely to continue for some time to come.
Dáil Éireann 557 Written Answers. Tax Compliance.