Labour MEP for Ireland South, Phil Prendergast, has hailed the European Parliament’s approval of an EU law establishing jail sentences of at least four years for insider dealers and financial market manipulators.
Reacting to the positive vote for the new EU Directive, Ms Prendergast, a full member of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, said that ‘cheating and playing with people’s savings, and the rates of interest they pay for their mortgages, are serious offences that cannot go unpunished or merely resolved with fines’.
“As Internal Market Commissioner Barnier said, over the past four years, we had to re-engage in a process of reconstruction of our financial market regulations after the near-collapse of the global financial sector, with consequences that are still very painfully felt by our citizens.
“That regulatory vacuum was a source of pride to his predecessor, Charlie McCreevey, who still defended it in front of this chamber, as financial institutions floundered, in late 2008.
“While many of the compromises we had to reach within Parliament and with the EU Council of Ministers to rebuild our financial regulation regimes went not as far as I and many colleagues wished, this piece of legislation is one I fully endorse.
“Insider dealing and market abuse will now be a criminal offense in all Member States, other than the UK, which unfortunately availed of its option to opt out of EU criminal justice provisions.
“We need the full force of criminal law to deter grievous abuses by players in a sector where a sense of ethics is fundamentally lacking, and recklessness is glorified.”