Royal Commission Recommends Criminal Charges Against Banks

Today the Labor Party will introduce amendments in the Senate to overhaul a government bill, the Treasury Laws Amendment, which is designed to strengthen penalties in the corporate and financial sectors.

Royal Commission Recommends Criminal Charges Against Banks

The Royal Commission into banking misconduct concluded with the board recommending that Criminal Charges be laid against some of Australia’s biggest banks. The Commission has also demanded that the banks return over 1 billion dollars to consumers effected by the scandal.

The recommendation followed a lengthy hearing in which shocking revelations about misconduct of the banking sector came to light. Some of the scandalous revelations included financial institutions charging customers fees for “no service”, and in some cases charging fees for customers who had passed away.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has been given extra resources to pursue criminal misconduct by banks and other financial institutions.

In his closing submission on misconduct in the superannuation industry, senior counsel assisting the commission, Michael Hodge QC, said the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) had “admitted to more than 13,000 criminal breaches of the superannuation law”.

That is because the CBA-owned Colonial First State failed to move 13,000 superannuation members into low fee, no commission accounts known as My Super by the legal deadline of January 1, 2014.

THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT

Today the Labor Party will introduce amendments in the Senate to overhaul a government bill, the Treasury Laws Amendment, which is designed to strengthen penalties in the corporate and financial sectors.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) sets out that a corporate entity can be charged with a criminal offence, where the offence has been committed by an employee, agent or officer in the course of his or her employment. It must also be proven that the company expressly, tactically or impliedly authorises or permits the commission of that offence.

In other words it must be proven that the criminal conduct was in some way encouraged from within the chain of command, a culture existed within the corporation that encouraged the behaviour or that the corporation had failed to adequately prevent the conduct occurring.

WHAT PUNISHMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR CORPORATIONS?

Substantial fines are the main form of punishment for corporations convicted of criminal offences. More serious offences may result in the company being wound up.

The most common type of white-collar crime includes offences such as Fraud, Embezzlement, Insider Trading, Money Laundering and Bribery. To read more about dishonesty offences click here

If you own a company that has been charged with a criminal offence, you need urgent legal advice from an experienced criminal law specialist.

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