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New corporate fraud and money-laundering offences a step closer

13 September 2016

Plans for new offences of failing to prevent money-laundering and fraud continue to progress. The plans, originally announced by David Cameron in May 2016, would complement a similar offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion revealed in the Queen’s Speech and set to be included in proposed legislation.

At a recent symposium in Cambridge, the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, suggested that the Government would soon begin consulting on extending the scope of that Bill. New offences are likely to include failing to prevent money-laundering, false accounting and fraud. If legislation were to mirror existing Bribery Act 2010 offences, these new laws would target companies and potentially their board members, representing a shift from the previous concentration on individual staff members as seen in recent Libor-fixing prosecutions.

Whilst Downing Street is yet to confirm the plans, they appear consistent with Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, promise in coming to office to, “get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business.” However, these proposals may have ramifications for businesses small or large. For some companies, bribery and the facilitation of tax-evasion may not have seemed a significant risk. In contrast, fraud and money-laundering by employees are potential problems for all.

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