James Moore: Reckless bosses must face the consequences

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The Independent Online

Outlook How apposite that yesterday saw the Serious Fraud Office charging former UBS trader Tom Hayes with eight counts of conspiracy to defraud in relation to the Libor interest rate scandal.

It is for the courts now to decide whether Mr Hayes is guilty or not, and I don't seek to make any comment on that.

But there is a point to be made here. The CBI says those who involve themselves in fraudulent behaviour in the UK already face tough sanctions and enforcing those should be the focus of the authorities as opposed to the creation of new offences.

The problem is, as the SFO's less than stellar record makes clear, getting those sanctions imposed has proved to be something of a challenge. What's more, the chances of any bosses facing charges in relation to the Libor affair are slim to non-existent.

The regulator has also largely failed to hold them to account. There has been talk of action by the Department of Business to perhaps bar some as directors. But we've heard that before. The system is clearly failing, and needs to be reformed or there will be nothing to deter a repeat of the behaviour that led to the financial crisis.

Deep down, the regulators know full well that the reforms enacted thus far might not be enough to prevent a repeat of the events of 2008. And it is a myth to think that a bank could even now be allowed to fail without state intervention.

Banks still operate under an implicit state guarantee. As a result, those who use that fact to engage in reckless behaviour for personal enrichment should face some form of legal sanction. That is why the Commission's suggestion of a new offence is timely.