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98% LESS CROOKS WHITE COLLARED; Just one found guilty during economic meltdown.

Byline: KEITH FALKINER

CONVICTIONS for whitecollar crime plummeted by 98% at the height of the country's chronic banking meltdown.

Startling new figures reveal the number of arrests for offences such as falsification of accounts, embezzlement and fraud plunged from 50 in 2003 to just one in 2010.

This was at the same time that reckless bankers and crooked businessmen were involved in dodgy deals that brought the country to its knees.

Now Justice Minister Alan Shatter has vowed to crack down on white-collar crime following the release of the figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Labour TD Robert Dowds has questioned the Justice Minister on why the conviction rate has plummeted at a time when the country has suffered the banking crisis and property crash.

Minister Shatter pledged to bring forward a number of bills to tackle the issue.

He said: "I attach the highest priority to the full investigation of white collar crime and bringing the perpetrators of such crime to justice.

"On taking office, I raised a number of cases of white collar crime with the Garda Commissioner and I am being briefed on an ongoing basis.

"I am assured that the resources allocated to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation are sufficient, and I will respond as necessary to any further legislative needs raised by An Garda Siochana or any of the other bodies involved in the investigation and prosecution of white collar crime."

Minister Shatter added that he is determined to get to the bottom of why white collar crime cases are being delayed. He said: "My commitment to tackling white collar crime was underscored by the swift action I took to move urgently to draft and seek government approval to the introduction of additional legislation.

"This new legislation, the Criminal Justice Act 2011, was enacted on 2 August, 2011.

"The main purpose of this new legislation is to address delays in the prosecution and investigation of complex white collar crime by improving certain important procedural matters and strengthening Garda investigative powers. "It provides new procedures and powers which will speed up current and future investigations, including investigations into offences in the areas of banking and finance, company law, money laundering, fraud and corruption."

The Minister is also bringing forward a new Bill to strengthen the law on corruption and replace overlapping Acts stretching back to Victorian times.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 15, 2012
Words:409
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