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Corporate Offences

Volume 553: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2012

19. What progress he has made in tackling corporate offences of fraud, bribery and money laundering. (127930)

The coalition has a clear commitment to tackling corporate offending: we implemented the Bribery Act 2010 from July 2011; we published the “Fighting Fraud Together” strategy, which is led by the National Fraud Authority; we established the Economic Crime Command in 2011, as part of the National Crime Agency; and we introduced provisions on deferred prosecution agreements in England and Wales in the Crime and Courts Bill.

Clearly the infrastructure is in place for prosecuting these offences. Will my right hon. Friend work closely with the Serious Fraud Office to ensure that prosecutions are brought against corporate bodies when offences have been committed?

My hon. Friend makes an important point, but of course the SFO acts independently of Government. As I said, the Government take all forms of economic crime seriously and what we can do is provide the SFO and other prosecutorial bodies with the tools they need to carry out their roles. That is why, for example, we introduced clauses to provide for the deferred prosecution agreements, which we think will be a valuable tool. They have tough requirements, such as a financial penalty, reparation for victims and repayments of profits. That kind of practical tool in the hands of the prosecutors will make us much more effective at fighting economic crime.

We are ahead of schedule, but the hon. Member for Easington (Grahame M Morris) is in his place and we can safely proceed to topical questions.