Martin Kenney: Tackling corruption means tackling the proceeds of crime
Monday, April 18, 2016 at 7:18AM
Martin Kenney in David Cameron, Mailta, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, money laundering

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said corruption adds 10 percent to business costs globally.

In Malta late last year, Cameron urged Commonwealth leaders to clamp down on graft, saying: Corruption wrecks economies, prevents development, and corrodes our societies. It can even foment  terrorism.”

When I hear the PM advising other world leaders in effect to “follow the money" and "return stolen assets," it mirrors exactly what I have been extolling for a number of years. That is, it's pointless to deal with corruption in isolation. Once detected and prosecuted, a parallel legal process is required to ensure perpetrators do not enjoy their ill-gotten gains.

It is this secondary course of action that is regularly omitted from corruption proceedings. Putting offenders in prison is one thing, but hitting them and their enablers -- (namely the banks, lawyers, and accountants who help wash the fructus corruptio -- in the pocket book is quite another.

If we reform the law of civil liability of bankers, lawyers and other enablers of corruption by imposing a duty of care sounded in negligence to the victims of fraud or corruption, with damages flowing for breach of that duty, it will help deter those who might otherwise help the perpetrators of graft.

David Cameron said of corruption: We must “fight this cancer.” In order to do so, a criminal investigation into graft must be seen as simply the start of a much bigger and more significant solution to the problem.

Only by employing civil recovery against the enablers of corruption in tandem with the criminal investigation will we deter all those who engage in this "cancerous" activity.


Martin Kenney is Managing Partner of Martin Kenney & Co., Solicitors, a specialist investigative and asset recovery practice focused on multi-jurisdictional fraud and grand corruption cases |@MKSolicitors.

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