Pensions watchdog to prosecute lax firms
Tuesday 03 February 1998
Opra announced the criminal proceedings as it published details of numerous breaches of pensions law, uncovered since it started work in April last year, including several cases which strongly resemble the actions of Robert Maxwell.
The prosecuted employers, which Opra cannot name for legal reasons, are expected to be forced into court before the end of March. They are being prosecuted for failure to pay members' contributions into pension schemes.
John Hayes, Opra's chairman, said: "The cases concern the continuing failure by some employers, without reasonable excuse, to pay over deductions made from employees' pay packets into the employees' occupational scheme. We have given public warnings on a number of occasions about the seriousness with which we regard such conduct."
The regulator, which can act only when whistleblowers report pension abuses, said a third of its inquiries had been about failure to pay. Further unreported offences are also likely to have occurred.
In many cases, employers were putting off paying contributions until more than three weeks after paying wages. In some cases, employers were failing to pay altogether. Opra is treating the initial court cases as a test. If they are successful, more criminal proceedings are expected.
Mr Hayes said the regulator had been soft with employers until now because of the difficulties they have had in meeting the tough requirements of the Pensions Act, which came into force last April.
"In future, the board of Opra will not be taking such a lenient course. Among the factors we will take into account when we consider a scheme's failure to comply will be the speed with which breaches are put right; the co-operation we receive; the track record of the pension scheme; and whether members' interests have been jeopardised."
The extent of failure to pay has shocked the pensions industry.
- 1 Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...