DUBLIN Dec 11 Ireland's Financial Regulator
called for a re-evaluation of financial crime laws, saying
delays in prosecuting those involved in the collapse of the
banks were undermining public confidence.
No-one has so far been jailed for their part in a banking
failure which led to a bailout involving more than 60 billion
euros ($77.6 billion) of taxpayers' money - equivalent to 40
percent of GDP - and high-profile prosecutions of the heads of
Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank have dragged on
"This track record arguably undermines public confidence in
the enforcement system ... and weakens its deterrent impact to
head off the next crisis or scandal," Financial Regulator
Matthew Elderfield said in a speech in Dublin on Tuesday.
"Surely, then, there is a case to step back and ask some
rather fundamental questions."
While a growing number of financial firms have been subject
to sanctions in recent years, the prosecution of individuals has
lagged, Elderfield said.
His office and its pre-crisis predecessor had only been able
to impose financial sanctions on seven individuals over the past
10 years, while criminal prosecutions were a long way from
"We should somehow take the opportunity to ask some
searching questions about how we can raise our collective game
to ensure that we have a truly effective enforcement system," he
A stricter test of responsibility for senior management in
firms that have been found in breach of regulations should be
considered, he added.
Authorities should also consider introducing some degree of
presumptive liability or sanctions for directors of banks which
failed and required public support, similar to a proposal by
Britain's Financial Services Authority.
He also mentioned the possibility of introducing a general
offence, either civil or criminal, for reckless trading by a
financial services company.