Company Bosses Could Face Prosecution for Employees' Financial Crimes
The government is to announce a series of measures to crackdown on white-collar crime that could result in senior executives being prosecuted for offences carried out by staff.
The new proposals would result in company boards becoming criminally liable and facing prosecution for failing to prevent employees from committing offences.
The Times newspaper reports that a new Bill on criminal finance will extend the current Bribery Act where companies are liable to stop bribery, to preventing money-laundering, false accounting and fraud. The measures are among Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to end 'boardroom excess' and to make tackling corporate crime a key focus.
The Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, speaking at a symposium in Cambridge is reported as saying: 'When considering the question 'where does the buck stop?' and who is responsible for economic crime, it is clear the answer is to be found at every level, from the boardroom down.'
He confirmed that the government was continuing the plan to consult on expanding 'failure to prevent' offences to a wider range of economic crimes committed by employees:
'The intention of the government actions I have described is not only to prosecute and to fine for breaches of the law, but to promote a culture of corporate responsibility so that we are addressing the threat earlier on and not just reacting to it through investigation and prosecution…'
David Green QC, director of the Serious Fraud Office, also told the same conference he would back a new law.
The measures are likely to attempt to remedy the problems encountered in the Libor rigging scandal where UK authorities were powerless to act against institutions despite the fact that key employees were successfully prosecuted.