Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Jail criminal bankers, says Geldof

Bob Geldof speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 in Dublin

Musician and human rights activist Bob Geldof has said bankers and traders should be jailed if they have broken the law.

The anti-poverty campaigner said criminal behaviour has replaced morality and ethics, but questioned if the laws were in place to stop it.

Geldof also defended his own controversial non-domiciled tax status in the UK, saying: "I am a non dom, I don't see what's the problem. That's what the law says I have to be. I don't have a choice.. because I'm Irish."

"I pay all my tax in the UK," he added, referring to his Survivor show and Eight Mile investment fund.

Geldof argued that, while global population growth had to be stopped by educating women in developing countries, the world's economic growth had led to greed, and its collapse.

"They (bankers) are criminal," Geldof said. "That is criminal behaviour. It's quite conceivable Bob Diamond didn't know (about rate rigging at Barclays) but his responsibility was to resign, it doesn't matter if you didn't know. It used to be called your word and honour." Geldof agreed bank chiefs should be jailed if they broke the law. "But if the law is not fit for purpose, then you should make the law fit for purpose," he added.

Earlier, exactly 27 years to the day since Live Aid, Geldof captivated a packed conference hall with a 45-minute address at Euroscience 2012 in Dublin.

He revealed he was daunted at giving a speech to the world of science, which he said examines the hows and whys of human existence, but added he felt "nothing" about the special date. "The point about Live Aid was raising the lobby, and the corollary of that was the money, but the lobby took 20 years to get to the political table which was Live 8," he added.

Geldof said there was still grotesque malnutrition in parts of Africa, the great tragedy of which was young children losing a third of their cognitive capacity, but that the continent now had seven of the top growing economies in the world.

"Dira Dawa was an epicentre of horror in the 1980s. Quite literally there were people dying because they are trying to get into town and a lot of them didn't make it," he said. Geldof was back in the area a few months ago for a television programme and went to a hotel, where he saw two local women drinking cappuccinos and buying clothes on a laptop, with overweight men and women working out in an adjoining mega gym. "It's really weird now being at that juncture," he added. "These were the sons of the people dying on the street 25 years ago."

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