The Times: ‘Cut penalties for fraudulent companies to make others admit wrongdoing’
The courts have allowed four Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) in the UK over the past two years, since coming into force under the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Sir Edward Garnier, the UK’s former Solicitor General who drew up the rules for DPAs, suggested at a meeting hosted by Exiger that lawmakers should adjust the current system of discounted penalties to help tackle more corporate fraud. “Discounts of 50% could be raised to encourage more companies to enter DPAs in return for taking action to tackle fraud and pay compensation to victims” The Times reported.
Addressing attendees of Exiger’s The Integrity Forum in London, hosted by Lisa Osofsky, Sir Edward called for corporations to comply further with their duties for self-reporting. Separately, as part of a desire for the UK to “maintain a reputation for the highest standards of business integrity”, Sir Edward called for a widening of the scope of the “failure to prevent” offence. The aim is to usher into UK criminal law a concept of corporate criminal liability for the acts of a company’s staff or subcontractors. This change, in turn, would focus a company’s attention on the right processes to prevent the committing of a crime.
Sir Edward said that currently the need for prosecutors to identify the person who was the “directing mind and will of the company” left a “gap” in the law, The Times reported. With prosecutors having to satisfy the ‘identification principle’, many cases resulted in “only individuals, but not their employers” being charged. This, Sir Edward maintained, was “plainly an inhibiting factor when prosecutors are considering cases involving large, complex companies with international and country boards, operating around the world.”