Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has today stated his support for a Sinn Féin Bill which will make lying to the Central Bank a criminal offence.
The Sinn Féin TD said tackling white collar crime, and specifically putting in place jail sentences for bankers and others who lie to the Central Bank, is long overdue.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“For far too long this State has refused to hold white-collar criminals to account.
“The unscrupulous actions of banks and bankers, who were bailed out by Fianna Fáil, Labour and Fine Gael Governments, brought this country to its financial knees. Tens of billions of tax payers’ money was wrongly used to bail out failing banks, gambling speculators, and these white-collar criminals, who have never been held to account.
“This impunity has emboldened the banking elites, and this can be seen in the ongoing tracker mortgage scandal.
“Up to 33,000 families with tracker mortgages have had money stolen from them by the banks. Up to 100 individuals and families have lost their home. Countless numbers have suffered hardship or the breakdown of relationships because of it. We have no idea how many took their own lives because of the pressure they were under and faced with losing their home.
“Yet not one person has been held responsible and no banker will ever be held responsible under the current system.”
“As it currently stands bankers can lie through their teeth to the Central Bank time and again, provide misleading information and omit documents, and the Central Bank can do absolutely nothing. That has to change.
“This Bill will make lying to the Central Bank a criminal offence with a possible penalty of five years in jail or a fine of up to €250,000.
“Tackling white collar crime, and specifically putting in place jail sentences for bankers and others who lie to the Central Bank, is long overdue. Voluntary codes do not work.
“Currently there are 350 social welfare inspectors to investigate fraud. Yet, in the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement there are only 35 staff members to investigate white collar crime. These statistics say it all.”