Written Answers. - Revenue Commissioners' Investigations.

Wednesday, 10 December 2003

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 576 No. 6

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  39.  Mr. S. Ryan  Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   the number of persons, 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 in which settlements have been agreed; the total 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. [30106/03]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that its 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 enquired into 289 cases to date and 55 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 on the High Court inspectors' report and 110 similar cases discovered by Revenue or listed on the authorised officer's report. A total of 211 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 four 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. To date a total of €26.10 million has been received, mostly by way of payments on account, in respect of 77 cases. This is made up of:

Cases € million
Cases involving Ansbacher or Ansbacher type arrangements 67 18.38
Other cases involving offshore funds or deposits 10 7.72
Total 77 26.10

The 55 cases which have concluded settlements with Revenue include 25 cases, named in the High Court Inspectors Report, which are non-resident and covered by the provisions of double taxation agreements. Of the balance of 30 cases, 23 were settled on payments amounting to €8 million, included above, five had no additional liability and two were covered by the 1993 amnesty provisions.

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 [1522]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. Revenue made an application under section 11 of the Companies Act 1990 for a copy of the High Court inspectors' report which 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 was heard by the High Court on 26-28 November 2002 and judgment is reserved.

Revenue has informed me that the investigations are time-consuming and complex and are likely to continue for some time to come.

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