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UK AG pledges to strengthen financial fraud enforcement

[JURIST] UK Attorney General Janet Scotland [official profile] pledged to improve Britain's policies on combating fraud and corruption in an interview [text] published Monday in the Financial Times [media website]. Scotland's comments came in response to accusations that the country's current stance on financial fraud is flawed and that it has become a haven for such crimes. She dismissed such comments, claiming that she aims to make the UK the "most hostile" country to fraudulent activity. Scotland additionally stated that fraud policy reform and cooperation between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) [official websites] and other agencies would be necessary to keep London's prominent stance in international financial markets. Fraud Advisory Panel [advocacy website] chairperson Rosalind Wright, who formerly directed the SFO, has said that the country's failure to prosecute high-profile fraud cases is "almost an encouragement" for committing such crimes. Former SFO director Robert Wardle has said that a public outcry over the current financial crisis will cause a change in the way companies report fraud.

In June, SFO director Richard Alderman [official profile] used the Bernard Madoff [JURIST news archive] case to compare fraud prosecution [press release] in the US and UK. Madoff was sentenced [JURIST report] to 150 years in prison on US security fraud charges in June while the UK investigation [press release; JURIST report], announced in January, did not reach any results. Alderman stated that the investigation was a "good example of the SFO's new, faster, approach to tackling fraud." Madoff was charged in the US [JURIST report] in December after he allegedly told two employees that his investment advisory business was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme."

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