Corporate enforcer warned of “very well-resourced” white collar suspects and tech advances the law struggled to keep up with in submission to Department

Ireland’s corporate enforcer said it would need a major increase in manpower to deal with “very well-resourced” white-collar suspects, technological advances that the law struggles to keep up with, and increased insolvency cases from the pandemic’s fallout.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is to be set up as a stand-alone agency, which had been compared to an “Irish version of the FBI” by then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar according to internal records.

A detailed submission to the Department of Enterprise described how the ODCE had in recent years been working on crime and wrongdoing at the “more serious end of the spectrum”.

These investigations were resource intensive and getting ever more complex according to the assessment, which was prepared by ODCE Director Ian Drennan.

He warned of technological advances that legislation “is unable to keep pace with”, and the number of different parties routinely involved in investigations as both witnesses and suspects.

Mr Drennan said there was a growing “propensity” for targets to take legal cases relating to things like privilege or privacy before the civil courts.

He also said, “many of the persons/entities with which the ODCE has to engage are very well resourced – as are their professional advisors”.