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Brash attacks proceeds-of-crime law

7 October 2004

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

Brash attacks proceeds-of-crime law

National Party Leader Don Brash says proceeds-of-crime legislation needs to be toughened so investigators have more power to deal with white-collar criminals.

He is commenting after Serious Fraud Office director David Bradshaw said he was concerned that some white-collar criminals were getting more lenient sentences than poorer criminals.

"It is time to come down very hard on white-collar criminals," Dr Brash says.

"Many of these crooks are very wealthy but no one can touch their assets, so we have to give investigators the tools to nab them.

"We need to be very tough on the devices these people use to hide the proceeds of crime. Western Australian-type proceeds-of-crime legislation will target unexplained and ill-gotten wealth, and will let investigators look through trusts and corporate devices.

"Then we must be tougher on these criminals when they go back into business after they have been barred from it. Too many of them are doing this, and the Official Assignee is ill-equipped to deal with it.

"They must be treated as severely as other criminals. Just because they drive nice cars, live in nice homes, and hold down respectable jobs does not mean they should be treated any more leniently than anyone else.

"Many of these offenders are guilty of a betrayal of trust that often ends up costing victims their life savings and their homes. Their victims are just as entitled to justice as those who are assaulted.

"I said in my speech on law and order in July and I say it again: for too long, grossly fraudulent white-collar crime has been regarded as of minor consequence, when some crimes of this kind have a devastating impact on victims and deserve harsh penalties," Dr Brash says.

ENDS

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