THE Government must introduce a corporate criminal offence for failing to prevent economic crimes, according to the co-chairs of an influential group of MPs.
Kevin Hollinrake MP and Norman Lamb MP, the co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking (APPG), are calling on the Prime Minister to reform the UK’s corporate liability regime.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Lamb and Mr Hollinrake argue that “creating an economy that works for everyone” must include getting tough on irresponsible behaviour from big business.
The letter states that officials from the Government, Law Commission and Serious Fraud Office have recognised the need for reform to the UK’s corporate liability framework, “to enable law enforcement to prosecute large corporates for economic crimes”.
The letter states: “The truth is that there is no real legal mechanism for holding large institutions criminally to account for wrongdoing, including for large-scale fraud or for laundering of the proceeds of corruption and other crimes.
“We welcome the steps the Government has taken in recent years to strengthen the UK’s defences against economic crime, but it is clear from the fact that upwards of £100bn of laundered wealth impacts on UK each year, while fraud costs the UK £110bn annually, that it is high time for reform.”
The letter urges the Government to introduce a corporate criminal offence for failing to prevent economic crimes such as fraud and money laundering at the earliest possible opportunity.
It also calls on the Government to order the Law Commission to conduct a broader review of the UK’s corporate liability framework, allowing a 12 month time frame to ensure the review is completed at pace.
The MPS also want to see a commitment from the Government to implement the Law Commission’s recommendations within six months of the publication of the Law Commission’s final report.
The letter continues: “As Britain seeks to define a new place for itself in the world, it is essential that we have a world class justice system that is based on fairness and equality before the law.”
The letter is also signed by Dr Rupa Huq MP and Nigel Mills MP, who are co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption