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Financial sector criminality must be met with criminal charges



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NO DISCRETION ON CRIMINAL CHARGES Financial Sector Criminality Must Be Met with Criminal Charges

In light of further scathing revelations on the conduct of the big banks, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick has demanded that ASIC commence criminal proceedings where criminality is suspected.

"Charging dead people fees and ‘taking money to which there was no entitlement’ is not a ledger error - it is theft and should be treated as such," said Rex.

"There can be no discretion exercised here. The alleged action of banking officials and executives cannot simply be dealt with by a civil penalty levied at a bank who may well treat a fine as a 'cost of doing business'. Where the criminal burden of proof exists, there can be no discretion exercised."

"ASIC does not need to wait until the Royal Commission concludes," said Rex. "I recall a union official being arrested in 2015 shortly after giving evidence to a Royal Commission. Justice is blind to public role; union official, banker, government official, politician, whomever. What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

"There must be longer term remedies to the current unacceptable conduct of the banks; a stronger regulator, strengthened whistleblower laws, stronger civil and criminal penalties and divesture powers for the courts as an ultimate penalty - allowing judicial officers to break up large banking entities in extreme circumstances."

"The Government must also take legislative action to end the payment of grandfathered conflicted remuneration. Conflicted remuneration was banned in 2013, but the continued grandfathering of these payments still sees banks and financial advisers’ interests being put ahead of consumers. The Productivity Commission estimates that for superannuation alone, $214 million per annum in conflicted remuneration continues to be withdrawn from consumers’ retirement savings under grandfathering."

"In the meantime I will be watching the approach taken by James Shipton, the new Chairman of ASIC. If he exercises discretion in the current environment and walks away from instigating criminal proceedings he will not be meeting public expectation and indeed will not be doing his job properly."

For media inquiries contact Amelia McMahon on 0419 117 464

9/08/2018