Belfast Telegraph

New laws target white collar crime

Justice Minister Alan Shatter is bringing in new laws to fast-track criminal prosecutions over the doomed Anglo Irish Bank and other financial scandals.

The legislation on complex white collar crime will introduce new offences for anyone who fails or refuses to pass on information to investigating officers.

Mr Shatter admitted recent probes have been hampered by potential witnesses who were reluctant to make statements or help with official inquiries.

"The Bill will ensure that any person with relevant information can be required to produce documents, answer questions and provide information for the purposes of the investigation of relevant offences," he said.

The new Criminal Justice Bill targeting delays in the prosecution and investigation of complex crime in banking, finance and company law as well as money laundering, fraud, corruption and cyber-crime will be published within weeks.

Mr Shatter, who was appointed to the Cabinet just two weeks ago as part of the new coalition Government, said public faith in justice was being tested over the unpunished wrongdoing of rogue bankers.

"The public are concerned that the investigation and prosecution of white collar crime in this country is taking too long," he said.

"The complexities of financial crime create a high challenge for investigators and for prosecutors.

"However, we must find ways to ensure that no matter how complex the crime, no matter how important, wealthy or influential the wrongdoer may be, he or she must be brought before the courts."

Three separate investigations are ongoing into Anglo Irish Bank since its spectacular collapse, which is expected to cost the Irish taxpayer 25 billion euro. As well as the Garda inquiry, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board are holding their own separate probes.


From Belfast Telegraph