Sunday, July 3, 2005

Fraud - An International Perspective

Fraud investigations and charges are not unique to the U.S. Looking at the Times U.K. of today we see a headline titled, "Baugur Fraud Charge Rocks Somerfield Bid."  Baugur, an Icelandic company, states that its " main policy is to focus on investments in the retail, service and real estate sectors, in Iceland and northern Europe."  According to the UK Times, here,  Baugur "is also a main player in a consortium preparing to bid for the UK’s fifth largest supermarket group."  The article states that "Jon Asgeir Johannesson, head of Icelandic investor Baugur, was charged with fraud." The article also states that "[m]ore than 40 separate charges have been brought against Johannesson, members of his family and other Baugur executives after a long-running investigation by the authorities in Iceland."

Earlier this week, the UK Times had a front page story on a fraud investigation into the "sick miners fund." The article by Andrew Norfolk stated that " [f]raud squad detectives are opening a criminal inquiry into a miners' union that has earned millions of pounds from the world's largest personal injury compensation scheme, The Times has learnt." See more here (punch in fraud investigation).

Several things to point out here -

1."fraud squad detectives" - in the US, the FBI has individuals who work on fraud cases, but would a separate division nationally that went to individual places to work on these cases be something useful? Not sure.

2. Sentences - why did people I spoke with at the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law (ISRCL) look at me like I was from another planet when I told of the high sentences the U.S. was giving on some recent white collar cases?  Have we forgotten the basics of punishment theory?


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