In the Media
The Times

How Will May Tackle White-Collar Crime?

One of Theresa May's highest objectives is to crack down on irresponsible business behavior and her immediate targets are overpaid and underachieving directors of big companies, The Times reported, but following the verdicts of July's Libor case, some question how the May government will handle white collar crime.

The Libor verdicts demonstrated that juries are interested in punishing those who abuse the financial system. The result, says White & Case partner Jonathan Pickworth, was a good one for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after a series of failures (such as the case against Vincent Tchenguiz).

Will there be a time when bribery and corruption are no more? The Bribery Act was implemented five year ago and there is no question that the act changed the culture in the business world — not just in the UK but internationally, The Times said.

"The Bribery Act has put compliance on the board agenda like nothing else I've seen in my career," Pickworth said.

However, some suggest corruption is still prevalent and that culprits are just more cunning with their operations.

The reality of this will become plain, Pickworth suggests, as almost inevitably, our economy falls into recession. That will be made worse if the authorities embark on a war on businesses through Section 7 of the Bribery Act, which deals with the failure of commercial organizations to prevent bribery. "Why penalize companies for the failures of individuals?" he asked. "It just makes the shareholders suffer, often years after the events."