Strict liability for companies that fail to prevent financial crime

Within a raft of proposals, commitments and promises announced during the London Anti-Corruption Summit on 12 May 2016, was a proposal to consult on holding companies to account for failing to prevent economic crimes committed by those they control.

The idea has been floated a number of times over the past few years, not least by David Green the Director of the Serious Fraud Office. In an article I wrote at the end of the term of the coalition government, Preventing Financial Crime and Deferred Prosecution Agreements, I predicted that such a law would be enacted during the life of this administration. However, it seemed my crystal ball had clouded over as in late 2015 the government announced that it would not be extending the concept of strict corporate criminal liability beyond the Bribery Act.

So what has changed? The Panama Papers. (more…)