Seanad debates

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Markets in Financial Instruments Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages


2:30 pm

Photo of David NorrisDavid Norris (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I would like to make one comment and I ask the Minister of State to take it back to his colleagues. A report of the Law Reform Commission by Dr. Patrick Honohan, former Governor of the Central Bank, was launched this morning. It recommends the establishment of a corporate crime agency to work directly with the new corporate crime agency in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. I have gathered that this Bill does not actually address these matters.

The report also calls for the Financial Regulator to be able to impose fines and other instruments on a company or individual that has behaved badly. Interestingly, Dr. Honohan said he had taken the commonsense approach that reckless trading was a criminal offence that could and should be prosecuted. However, he was told to dream on, that there was not sufficient case law to establish a case against these people. That is an absolutely appalling statement from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. If there is not sufficient case law, it should be established. The only way to establish case law is by taking cases.

Dr. Honohan has pointed out that reckless trading formed no part of the convictions of individuals for white-collar crime. That is appalling. I served as chairman of several companies that were working in the charitable field. They were limited companies. I suspended the operations of one of them because I was afraid of a prosecution for reckless trading if we went on. It seems to me that in light of the financial crisis that we went through eight or ten years ago, we really should establish a method of dealing properly with white-collar crime. I do not see any reason reckless trading should not be a prosecutable offence. It is time that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was told to get off its backside and do something about this by establishing case law.


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