The former CEO of Barclays, Bob Diamond, gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday about the £290m fines levied at Barclays following an investigation into the submission of interbank rates and the subsequent Libor revelations. Diamond apologised but stated that he had no knowledge of Libor rigging at the bank, that only 14 traders were responsible and he felt no personal culpability for what had happened, and that he did not intend to give up his £22m payoff.
The SFO and FSA are also investigating the matter – the FSA is considering whether criminal financial services law on misleading market statements can be applied to an unregulated private activity, and the issue for the SFO to determine is whether there is sufficient evidence of conspiracy to defraud to prosecute. On Friday it was officially announced that the SFO will formally launch an investigation into the rigging of interbank lending rates.
Complaints about unduly “soft” sentences reviewed by the Attorney General’s office have resulted in a report flagging 97 cases in the last year as having been sentenced too leniently. The unduly lenient sentence scheme allows anyone to refer a sentence to the Attorney General for consideration, and if the sentence is found to fall significantly outside the proper range it can be reviewed. This year’s statistics show the highest number of sentences judged to be unduly lenient since 2006.
The Home Affairs Committee is publishing a report on private investigators, which concludes that phone hacking is the “tip of the iceberg of a substantial black market in personal information”. As it stands, the typical penalty for offences relating to unlawful obtaining and selling of data is a fine of £100. Recommendations contained in the report include a licensing and registration system with its own code of conduct, a recording system for dealings between investigators and the police, a mandatory cooling off period between serving as a police officer and becoming a PI and calls for the IPCC to take control over investigations into police corruption in relation to private investigators.
On Thursday police in Northern Ireland launched a murder inquiry into the deaths of 13 people killed on Bloody Sunday in 1972 when soldiers opened fire on a civil rights march in Londonderry. The soldiers were heavily criticised in the Saville report published two years ago, but any testimony given to that inquiry cannot be used in the new proceedings as witnesses were granted immunity from prosecution on grounds of self incrimination. The new inquiry has been subject to criticism for other reasons – the police have shown that they are less than enthusiastic about resources being diverted to what will be a lengthy investigation. The Assistant Chief Constable said that a balance must be struck between the need to investigate historical crimes and protecting life in the present day.
Today the Ministry of Justice announced that it is backing legislation which would simplify the law on declaring missing people dead. The MoJ agrees with campaigners that issuing presumption of death certificates earlier would “help families deal with the array of legal and financial issues that need to be resolved when a person is missing and presumed dead”.