Law360 recently featured the comments of John Gibson, head of Cohen & Gresser’s UK White Collar and Investigations practice, in an article about a new bill that could help prosecutors by reforming key aspects of corporate criminal law that for years have hampered the UK’s efforts to combat the fraud epidemic.

One notable measure under debate is a new, bespoke offense that would make companies criminally liable for failing to prevent fraud by their employees. John noted that "[c]reating these bespoke failure-to-prevent offenses increases prosecutors' kitbag of potential charges," but also added that "[t]here aren't many examples of failure to prevent being charged, partly because the core pressure on law enforcement is to prosecute the substantive offending behavior."

Another proposal seeks to lower the standard of the identification doctrine—the requirement to prove that individuals who constitute the "directing mind and will" of the company knew about wrongdoing—by allowing companies to be held liable for a range of economic crimes by senior managers. Regarding the potential impact of this change, John draws a distinction between international companies that may already work within tougher parameters and domestic companies that may not: "Although it's seen in boardrooms as a seismic change in the law of England and Wales, I don't think most international companies will require significant change: they'll already have worked toward their liability in the U.S."