Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 19: The financial crisis, economic crime and development
This chapter speaks to two interrelated and important themes of growing significance on the very edges of what might properly be described to be the boundaries of contemporary international economic law and the law of economic crime. The two themes are “economic crime” and “development.” It is argued that the goal expressed in the latter must involve an appreciation of the root causes and implications of the former in the context of the modern world economy. Speaking in Washington in October, the Governor of the Bank of England, himself a lawyer, spoke of the bankers who caused the financial crisis and who he said despite facing “limited social embarrassment” were still “on the best golf courses.” The Governor said that “the individuals who ran the institutions got away with it. They got away with their compensation packages and without sanction.” He said that “maybe they are no longer at the most esteemed table in society, but they are still on the best golf courses and that has got to change.” The Governor’s words require no paraphrasing. He was speaking to the fact that none of the so-called masters of the Universe, whose financial institutions had brought the world to the brink of apocalyptic ruin in 2008, had been prosecuted in a criminal court. In fact many had not simply escaped personal criminal responsibility but had also exited with generous compensation packages.
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