04 December 2003

Directors face fines to beat fraud - UK

Directors face fines to beat fraud:

Patrick Hosking, Evening Standard
4 December 2003

DIRECTORS could for the first time be prosecuted and fined for concealing relevant information from auditors under a fresh clampdown aimed at preventing Enron-style frauds.

The new criminal offence is detailed in a Companies Bill published today, which also gives Department of Trade and Industry inspectors extra powers and aims to keep auditors objective.

Industry minister Jacqui Smith hailed the Bill as a comprehensive package of measures aimed at restoring investor confidence in corporate governance, accounting and company auditors.

'There is no denying that financial markets around the world have been badly shaken by the corporate failures of the last few years,' she said.

The Bill, introduced to the House of Lords today, would give auditors greater powers to get information they needed and give DTI inspectors extra powers to uncover misconduct, she said.

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