Crown Office pulls leg, claims it is investigating crooked bankers. SCOTLAND’S Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has been accused of issuing publicity grabbing misleading statements in Press Releases concerning claims it’s prosecutors have been investigating corruption in Scottish banks “for some time”. Yesterday, the Crown Office claimed it’s Serious and Organised Crime Division ‘was leading the little known about investigation into crooked bankers, but officials refused to provide any substantive proof an investigation was actually underway. The claims appear to have provoked hurried meetings within Scottish Government & Police circles. (probably to synchronise their watches – Ed)
It has been reported in Scots Law publication “The Firm” in an article HERE that “former BBC Head of Legal, Alistair Bonnington, has said the “publicity conscious” Crown Office’s claim that it had been investigating Scottish banks for some time was “wholly absurd”. He accused the Crown Office of attempting to deflect criticism of a “disgraceful lack of activity” over the failure to take criminal action against Scottish banks”. A further article in “The Firm” explaining more on the story is HERE
The Crown Office issued a short press release today claiming an investigation into crooked banking practices had been ongoing for some time but the release came only after Mr Bonnington had appeared on BBC criticising the lack of action in Scotland on any investigations into the Scottish banking sector.
The Press Release also warned the media not to publish anything which may ‘prejudice’ any future criminal proceedings, however a legal insider described this warning as “a joke” and alleged “it is an attempt to muzzle the press from digging deeper into the Crown Office’ so-called investigation into banks”
It has also been speculated the Scottish Government had ordered the Crown Office to issue the short Press Release after it became clear several journalists had been enquiring as to the lack of any investigations into banking practices in Scotland and were about to write damning reports alleging political attempts to suppress any criminal financial scandals of the order of those currently doing the rounds in the city of London ahead of ALex Salmond’s much prioritised independence referendum.
A solicitor speaking to Scottish Law Reporter warned the public not to get their hopes up over the Crown Office investigation into the banks.
He said : “More often than not the Crown Office fail to prosecute complex fraud cases as they neither have the experience, intelligence or the will to do so.”
He added : “There will be no appetite at the Crown Office or within the Scottish Government to rock the Scottish Financial establishment with criminal charges, particularly on the run up to an independence referendum where finance and how banks will survive in an independent Scotland are bound to be key factors in swaying the vote.”
From: Crown Office NEWS RELEASE For Publication 3 July 2012
CROWN OFFICE CONFIRMS INVESTIGATION INTO SCOTTISH BANKING SECTOR
The Crown Office today confirmed that an investigation into the Scottish banking sector is ongoing.
Given the degree of public concern about recently reported issues in the banking sector, the Crown has decided to confirm that an investigation has been underway for some time. Its scope will now be extended as a result of recent developments.
The Serious and Organised Crime Division is leading the investigation.
As the investigation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment further.
Notes to editors:
1. Editors are asked to act responsibly and refrain from publishing or broadcasting material which could be prejudicial to any future criminal proceedings.
2. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is Scotland’s sole prosecuting authority. COPFS prosecutes cases in the public interest after the receipt of initial crime investigation reports from police forces in Scotland. COPFS then decide whether to proceed with any action in the case. The Procurator Fiscal will take a proactive role where necessary in directing police enquiries, particularly in the investigation of serious crime. In Scotland, the decision whether to prosecute a case is one for the COPFS alone, not the police.