Former Fraud Squad detective, Rowan Bosworth-Davies, on this week's Parliamentary Banking Commission report. He believes the City of London IS thge government because it has bought our political parties. Poor showing by Labour leader Ed Miliband who bought the lie that we need new legislation to deal with the bankers, we don't. Theft Act and Fraud Act perfectly adequate.
New Lamps for Old! - Why the threat of imprisoning bankers is a hollow one!
Reading the City headlines, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Government had been handed an important new power with which to confront rogue bankers.
"...Greedy bankers to face prison as Chancellor prepares new law to target reckless bosses who take risks with the economy..."
screams the headline in the Daily Mail, as if the Banking Commission had suddenly identified some rare and wonderful new power that had never been used before.
It is of course, all complete and utter bollocks!
These headlines are a deliberate opportunity for David Cameron and George Osborne to present what appears to look like a new and positive response to the cataclysmic failure of banking regulation which has predicated the financial crisis, and the resultant recognition of the way in which the ordinary British bank clients have been systematically defrauded by an organised criminal cabal of bankers and brokers.
The Commission has recommended the following proposal;
"...There is a strong case in principle for a new criminal offence of reckless misconduct in the management of a bank. While all concerned should be under no illusions about the difficulties of securing a conviction for such a new offence, the fact that recklessness in carrying out professional responsibilities carries a risk of a criminal conviction and a prison sentence would give pause for thought to the senior officers of UK banks. The Commission recommends that the offence be limited to individuals covered by the new Senior Persons Regime, so that those concerned could have no doubts about their potential criminal liability.
"...The Commission would expect this offence to be pursued in cases involving only the most serious of failings, such as where a bank failed with substantial costs to the taxpayer, lasting consequences for the financial system, or serious harm to customers. The credibility of such an offence would also depend on it being used only in the most serious cases, and not predominantly against smaller operators where proving responsibility is easier, but the harm is much lower. Little purpose would be served by the creation of a criminal offence if the only punishment available to the courts were the imposition of a fine, because substantial fines can already be levied as a civil sanction with a lower burden of proof. We would expect the determination of the available sentences to have regard to relevant comparable offences..."
This proposal is so bound around with caveats and pre-conditions as to make it virtually impossible to convict anyone for its commission.
Even Fred Goodwin, the reckless and arrogant former boss of RBS wouldn't grip the bars under these charges, because it would be too difficult to prove.
First of all, the offence would only apply to a very small group of individuals identified under the new and as yet untried 'Senior Persons Regime'.
Secondly, the bank failure would have had to have failed with 'serious costs to the tax-payer', i.e, there had to have been a huge financial rescue package involved, where the failure had what are described as 'lasting consequences for the financial system', however that would have to be defined; or, 'serious harm to customers'!
Well, if everyone has lost their money, and the Bank of England customer protection plans are not warrantable, then no doubt this condition might apply.
I am not trying to be deliberately awkward, but as someone very skilled in the application of the criminal law, I can easily imagine the smoke and mirrors that an experienced QC could draw around these flabby definitions.
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