A New Crime for Corporate Misconduct?

26 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2014 Last revised: 28 Mar 2014

See all articles by Peter J. Henning

Peter J. Henning

Wayne State University Law School

Date Written: January 3, 2014

Abstract

Federal prosecutors have explained the absence of any signature prosecutions of financial executives in the wake of the financial crisis to the high level of intent required by criminal laws typically used to prosecute economic crimes. If the barrier to holding individual executives is the lack of evidence of specific intent, the one possibility is to adopt a new crime based on recklessness for executive decisions that result in significant harm. In this essay, I look at how statutes in Germany and the United Kingdom shed light on how a provision can be crafted to hold senior managers responsible for reckless corporate decisions. But the question remains whether such a new law is needed in the wake of the financial crisis, and whether it would deter the type of risk taking expected in a business enterprise seeking a high return on capital.

Keywords: White collar crime; criminal law; corporate law

Suggested Citation

Henning, Peter J., A New Crime for Corporate Misconduct? (January 3, 2014). Wayne State University Law School Research Paper No. 2014-2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2379586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2379586

Peter J. Henning (Contact Author)

Wayne State University Law School ( email )

471 West Palmer Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
United States

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