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Labour calls for financial criminals to face jail time

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has called for those guilty of financial crime to face jail sentences.

Speaking to the Future of Financial Services summit yesterday, the Labour MP says the prospect of jail time is the best way to change culture and improve trust in financial services.

He says: “We will not rebuild trust with the public or affect a culture change in finance until custodial sentences are imposed on those guilty of criminal wrongdoing in your sector.

“It cannot be right that someone who seeks to cheat the benefits system out of a couple of hundred pounds in my constituency may well be thrown into jail for doing so, but those who seek to rig the financial system and receive hundreds of thousands of pounds as a result never seem to suffer the same fate.

“Is not the prospect of jail for gross wrongdoing one of the best ways we can affect a culture change?”

Umunna said politicians are not in a position to lecture on trust but pointed out that MPs and Lords had gone to prison for expenses fraud.

He also slammed the publication of Barclays’ £40m worth of bonuses for senior executives during this year’s Budget speech, hinting it was timed to bury the news.


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I totally agree with his comments but this is coming from the same party that fell in love with bankers because they were paying for the spending policies of Labour. It’s also a bit hard taking a lecture on ethics and culture from a MPs who have in the past been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar and how many of them went to prison.

    This is a good idea but I wonder when financial services will get its own judge led review like Levinson as surely this is what is needed instead of the whitewashes that we had already.

    We have far too many unanswered questions like why was senior bankers allowed to get away while junior management took the blame?

    Why has no senior chief exec or indeed other board members been prosecuted?

    What was the exact relationship between regulators and bankers in particular reference to high paid positions been offered and accepted once senior regulators left office?

    When is miss selling fraud as I believe that some of the cultures within our banks and building societies are effectively that fraud. If they are fraud why has the serious fraud squad not been called in to investigate and prosecute?

    These are just a few of the questions that the taxpayer would like to know after all it’s our money that is being spent on bailing out these organisations!

  2. I could not agree more with chuka ,

    Any person caught stealing or misapropriating people’s hard earned money should be thrown in jail.

    Maybe we could lock up all the politicians that fiddled their expenses just for a start.

    Then we can start talking about trust.

  3. He’s probably right, though one wonders why regulators found guilty of gross incompetence, negligence, dereliction of duty, mis-direction of resources (think of what the Statutory Code for Regulators states) and gross profligacy with OPM (remembering the FSA’s £1m stationery bill for 2010) seem not only to get away largely scot free but even get rewarded for it (think of Hector Sants and Clive Briault).

    Nobody’s asking for special treatment here, just for everyone to be subject to the same standards of accountability for their actions instead of being allowed to hide behind what Hector Sants described to the TSC as “collective failure”.

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