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New Serious Crime Bill to target corrupt accountants

Posted 11 Jun 14

Following the recent Bill declared by the Home Office, corrupt accountants and other professionals involved or facilitating organised crime are under examination.

The new bill empowers the courts to prosecute white collar criminals who knowingly partake in planned crime groups. The penalties for convicted offenders can be up to 5 years imprisonment and civil orders that include travel restrictions.

Karen Bradley, a Home Office minister, outlined that corrupt accountants and other professionals have for long escaped justice by concealing behind their professional decency.

Felicity Banks, Head of Business Law at ICAEW acknowledged that hiding or enabling the acquisition, retaining and usage of criminal property is an offence. However, emphasised that new legislations in this arena must be concisely clarified, rather than being ambiguous in defining what is the acceptable behaviour.

She further outlines the possibility of any person calling themselves an accountant, however if they not part of any professional membership body, it becomes difficult to guarantee whether they are acting legally or ethically.