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Tougher on White-Collar Crime

The government is getting tougher on white-collar crime.

A statement from the office of the Treasurer said this legislative strengthening is part of the government’s plan for a stronger economy and will bring Australia closer in line with other ‘leading jurisdictions’.

Criminal penalties have been doubled from five years to ten years.

“Civil penalties are due to increase by more than tenfold for corporations and more than fivefold for individuals,” the office of the treasurer said.

An example given was if a company was found guilty of making misleading statements around fees for no service it would be $1.26 million each offence. If the infraction was committed 25 times, then the maximum penalty is $31.5 million.

Prior to the new legislation, the penalty for misleading statements around fee for no service was $210, 000.

Fees for no service has been one of the major discussion points of the Royal Commission into Banking, Superannuation and the Financial sector.

Impact of the Royal Commission?

Earlier this week, the conduct regulator understood that they needed to make changes to their enforcement strategies to be more effective.

Speaking at the Parliamentary Joint Committee last week, Australian Securities and Investments Commission chair said that they take the comments made about their role as regulators during the Royal Commission very seriously.

Shipton said that while they have long known about the impact of misconduct in the financial services, the Royal Commission has ‘reinforced’ this impact and that the financial industry has ‘abandoned its core role’.

“ASIC is still experiencing slow and delayed responses from financial institutions and, in some cases, overly technical responses aimed at a delay. Due process is important, but it must not be manipulated to disrupt the achievement of fair, appropriate and honest outcomes,” Shipton said.

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