There was a major raid in Cork last Monday by the Gardai, Criminal Assets Bureau, National Bureau of Investigation and Immigration Bureau. The raid was part of an investigation into human trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion and other serious crimes.
Money laundering and tax evasion are serious crimes in Ireland? That’s certainly news to me.
Anyone observing the activities of financial institutions, politicians, property developers and many other so called pillars of society over the decades could be forgiven for thinking that money laundering and tax evasion were legitimate business activities in this country.
It depends, of course, on who you are. The raid in Cork, which involved over 80 gardai, targeted the sleazy underbelly of the city’s sex industry. No doubt, many of these people will be charged, brought to court and if found guilty, sent to jail. Other citizens, however, can rob millions and get away scot free.
Take for example the Bailey brothers, building developers and major tax criminals. For decades these criminals robbed millions from the State. Recently, they ‘made an arrangement’ with Revenue in which they paid back €22 million, the largest personal tax settlement in the history of the State (Yes, that figure is correct – €22 million).
There is not the slightest doubt that if these two criminals lived in any other country in the world, they would now be serving a very long jail sentence.
Frank Daly, our esteemed Revenue chairman tells us that a criminal prosecution was not tenable because of the passage of time, difficulty of collecting evidence and the likelihood of getting people to cooperate.
This laughable explanation was immediately followed by the even more farcical claim.
“It is the policy of Revenue to prosecute and then collect money in large tax offence cases.”
No doubt it would also be claimed that the large ‘donations’ made by these criminals over the years to various political parties had no bearing whatsoever on their special treatment.