The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau
) (formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation/GBFI) – informally known as the Garda Fraud Squad
– is a specialised division of Ireland's national police force, the Garda Síochána, that investigates financial crimes. The Bureau operates as part of the Garda Special Crime Operations
branch, and works alongside other sections of the force, as well as the external Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), an agency tasked with investigating white-collar crime
. The Economic Crime Bureau is responsible for the investigation of financial fraud
and other matters of monetary loss through illegal means nationally. It was established in April 1996 and is based at Harcourt Square, Dublin 2. The GNECB is headed by an officer of Detective Chief Superintendent rank, who reports to the Assistant Commissioner of Special Crime Operations.
The Economic Crime Bureau investigates serious and complex cases of commercial fraud, money laundering
, terrorist financing, cybercrime, cheque and payment card fraud, counterfeit currency, advance fee fraud, and breaches of the Companies Acts and competition law
. As an investigative unit, all members are experienced investigators, and include trained financial, legal and computer specialists, such as forensic accountants.
The GNECB is divided into a number of operational units with a Detective Superintendent or Detective Inspector in charge of each specialist area;
- Fraud Assessment Unit
- Commercial Fraud Investigation Unit
- Money Laundering Investigation Unit (MLIU)
- Garda Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
- Cheque, Payment Card, Counterfeit Currency and Advance Fee Fraud Investigation Unit
- Cyber Crime Bureau
- Corporate Enforcement Unit (GNECB detectives are seconded to the Director of Corporate Enforcement)
The Economic Crime Bureau focus on major and complex fraud based on the following criteria; monetary loss, investigations involving a significant international dimension, investigations concerning widespread public concern, investigations requiring specialised knowledge and investigations involving complex issues of law or procedure. The Bureau's responsibility includes the gathering of information and financial intelligence (FININT) for the force and Irish government, extending to terrorism financing
, and proactively detecting and preventing fraud through sting operations.
As part of European Union (EU) counter-terrorism initiatives on tackling Islamic extremism and jihadism, the Garda Computer Crime Investigation Unit monitors suspects in Ireland and outside the jurisdiction using the internet to distribute propaganda such as videos linked to terror groups, especially the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
". Online chat rooms and forums used by extremists to target and recruit vulnerable young people, particularly teenagers and young men, are also kept under observation by the Garda Computer Crime Unit.
The GNECB works particularly closely with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Revenue Commissioners, Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and internally with the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) relating to investigations concerning issues such as monetary fraud, suspicious transaction reports (STR), racketeering, embezzlement, corruption and bribery. The GNECB is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units