It has always been the view of Public Inquiry that Ireland is the Wild West when it comes to financial regulation.
And despite the fact that an almost complete lack of financial regulation played a major role in the destruction of our country there is still little or no regulation when it comes to financial activities.
This view is confirmed by a report on One News (8th report) today.
Researchers at Griffith University in Australia found Ireland among the easiest countries in the world in which to set up an untraceable shell company.
Shell companies, which have anonymous and untraceable owners, are often used by criminals and terrorist organisations to launder money.
It is illegal under Irish and international law to set up such a company.
The researchers contacted 3,700 corporate service providers in 62 countries enquiring about setting up shell companies.
Ireland was ranked 56th out of the 62 countries for the apparent ease with which researchers were able to find a provider willing to set up an untraceable shell company.
In a better performing country it took 25 or more different attempts by researchers to find a corporate service provider that would set up an untraceable shell company, in Ireland the figure was less than five.
In other words: Don’t mind about all that regulation/law stuff, we’ll deal with anybody, even terrorists, it seems.
Kevin O’Doherty Managing Director of Compliance Ireland, which specialises in advising firms on their legal responsibilities in this area, was not happy.
It’s a matter of concern.
That has to be the understatement of the year; he goes on:
We’re down there with the Philippines, Ghana and Kenya, which is not the sort of company we want to be with.
People will often throw insults at so-called tax havens but Jersey and the Cayman Islands were right up at the top with 100% compliance.
And that’s where we need to get Ireland Inc. playing. We don’t want people saying that our standards are actually quite shoddy.
Look at developing nations like Saint Kitts and Nevis and Albania scored way higher than Ireland.
And you would like to think we would have stronger controls and procedures in place.
The reference to Jersey and the Cayman Islands suggests that unlike these two islands, Ireland is not just an offshore tax haven but is also quite prepared to risk facilitating criminals and terrorists.
As for shoddy (financial regulation) standards, Ireland fully deserves to be ‘down there’ with the Philippines, Ghana, Kenya and Albania.
Like these countries, corruption in Ireland is not just an occasional event but is a normal and officially accepted part of how business is done.
Oddly enough, it’s the Department of Justice rather than the Central Bank that deals with this matter.
I phoned today to ask some questions but was told that those who deal with such matters don’t talk to the public.
All queries must be submitted in writing.
Department of Justice