Australian Institute of Criminology

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Waking the sleeping tiger: criminal prosecution for institutional and corporate non-compliance

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith ACT
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM 08 August 2012

John Masters

In light of the recent events highlighted by the HSBC Group,  the private corporate sector should be examining, on an internal basis, the criminal risks associated with what traditionally was considered to be regulatory non-compliance. The tide is definitely shifting towards criminally prosecuting financial institutions, companies and their officers for serious criminal offences brought about by shoddy or non-compliant institutions. This seminar will discuss the identification of the criminal nature of non-compliance and potential catastrophic consequences;  International approaches with emphasis on the wide-reaching UK Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; the attitude of major institutions towards compliance including how compliance can become more an exercise of form over substance.

The seminar will highlight the incentives to prosecute non-compliance criminally – for example how even offshore jurisdictions, like the Cayman Islands, introduced its own catastrophic risk. The seminar will further examine if this is a genuine risk for Australian corporations

John Masters LLB; LLM; M.Phil (Cambridge)

John Masters is a Barrister who has practiced for over 24 years including as a Specialist Financial Crime Prosecutor in the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands. He is currently at the private bar as a member of Blackburn Chambers in the ACT.
His experience has varied from being a police officer in the Australian Federal Police, General Counsel for Medibank Private, an international prosecutor and also the private bar. He now specializes in white collar crime, fraud, corruption, anti-money laundering/bribery, mutual legal assistance and international and domestic asset recovery.

After completing his legal studies whilst serving as a police officer, John was first called in NSW in 1987. In 2002, after a brief sabbatical as a University Lecturer in Business Law and Practice in London, he was called to the bar of England and Wales as a member of the Honourary Society of Grays Inn whereupon he accepted a position as a Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service of England and Wales (CPS). Within a short period he was granted Higher Court Advocate status for the CPS and made a Crown Advocate. Shortly after its inception, John was transferred to the specialist Fraud Prosecution Service division of the CPS where he was one of six National Crown Advocates to prosecute major fraud and money laundering. He was also appointed a national Proceeds of Crime Champion.

In February 2008 he took a career break with the Fraud Prosecution Service to take up a position as Senior Crown Counsel (International Cooperation) where he was responsible for Mutual Legal Assistance, assets restraint, forfeiture and confiscation for the islands. He was appointed as the legal adviser to the newly established Anti-Corruption Commission of the Cayman Islands. Within the last few years he has prosecuted lawyers, politicians and other government officials for money laundering and corrupt practices.
He is regularly called upon to speeches and presentations internationally including the International Symposium on Economic Crime held annually at Jesus College Cambridge University.

He is published in both academic and academic journals including:

Criminal in the Mirror [2009] 12 Q4 Compliance and Ethics, Ethisphere
Restraint orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act [2009] Law Society Gazette, 30 April, 16
Fraud and money laundering: the evolving criminalization of corporate non-compliance [2008] Journal of Money Laundering Control Vol. 11 No. 2 pp. 103-122 Emerald