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Christian Aid welcomes new tax evasion proposals

by Antony Bushfield

Under the plans senior corporate executives could be prosecuted for offences including fraud and money laundering carried out by staff under an expansion of laws targeting so-called white-collar crime.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the Government is to consult on plans to extend "failure to prevent" offences, currently only covering bribery and tax evasion, to a wider range of economic crimes committed by employees, also including false accounting.

Eric Gutierrez, Christian Aid's anti-corruption expert said: "These proposals are a welcome recognition of the responsibility that comes with the vast power now held by people who run large companies.

"That personal responsibility does not end at the UK's borders and any new law should reflect this.

"Fraud and tax evasion committed abroad by UK-linked companies must be caught by these reforms, just as the Bribery Act 2010 already makes UK-linked firms responsible for bribery by their staff in other countries.

"A globalised economy requires globalised responsibilities.

"Developing countries are especially vulnerable to the impacts of fraud, corruption and tax evasion and it is the poorest people who suffer worst of all.

"It is important that UK companies are not allowed to undermine the UK's aid programme by facilitating or committing financial crimes in poor countries."

Gutierrez added: "If these welcome new proposals are to make much difference, then the government must also ensure that those expected to enforce the new law have enough staff and other resources to do so."

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