Companies in England, Wales face fines up to 400 pct on illegal gains

June 27 Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:45pm EDT

June 27 (Reuters) - Companies found guilty of financial crimes against individuals or tax authorities in England and Wales could attract fines of as high as 400 percent on ill-gotten gains, according to draft guidelines published by the Sentencing Council.

"The draft sentencing guidelines, which are likely to lead to tougher sentences for those who leave victims badly affected, aim to provide clear guidance on sentencing for these offences," the Sentencing Council for England and Wales said on its website.

The draft guidelines provides for fines for various degrees of financial crimes ranging from 20 percent to 400 percent, the document showed.

The council, which was set up to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, has framed the guidelines in accordance with the system of fines prevalent in the United States. The guidelines also cover bribery and money laundering.

Besides being a deterrence, the council said the guidelines will "help promote a consistent approach in courts in England and Wales."

The consultation on the draft guideline on fraud, bribery and money laundering offences is open from June 27 to Oct. 4, the council said. ()

The council can issue only guidelines and does not have any legislative power. The relevant legislation is a matter for Parliament.