Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Adam Smith should be prosecuted

Yesterday evening, the more I mulled over the events of the previous 24 hours, the more I started to think that what Jeremy Hunt's adviser is alleged to have done could have broken the law.

If we are to believe the Secretary of State, his adviser went completely rogue. On his own initiative he is alleged to have leaked privileged information to one of the potential bidders in a deal worth billions of pounds. From the published e-mails between him and Frédéric Michel (Murdoch's point man on the deal) it would also appear that he leaked details of speeches Hunt was due to make and also apparently offered advice from his office on how to counter arguments from the OFT.

Surely amongst all of this there are grounds for a prosecution? We know that in the end the deal did not go through because News Corp withdrew their bid in the light of the hacking scandal. But it is worth bearing in mind that had that scandal not erupted Hunt was poised to give the nod for the deal. So all the information that was apparently passed on by Smith could have made the difference.

It would appear that we are in a legal grey area on this one. But the City watchdog is considering a prosecution stating that the scandal "potentially falls into market abuse territory".

I suggest that this is an important enough case that if there is a chance laws have been broken it should go to trial and we can test this complex area of law in court. That way, all relevant correspondence can be subpoenaed and we can hopefully get to the bottom of this. That would seem to me to be very much in the public interest.

I certainly don't think that a hasty resignation from a SpAd followed by an "he made unintentional mistakes" eulogy from his boss in parliament is anywhere near enough to close this scandal out.

And although Smith might be willing to sacrifice his career to act as a "firewall" for Hunt I suspect it might be a whole different ballgame if we start to talk about potential prison time.


Anonymous said...

One rule for political folk and another for everyone else. If most people leaked commercial insider information on a 6Bn bid and were found out they would be in serious trouble, eg in the City, banned from working there any more. In politics, an underling takes the fall and deniability is stretched beyond what is believeable.

Online professioneller übersetzer said...

Don't complain, we set the rules. If we accept this kind of behaviour it will be accepted and continue.

So foot on the brake!

French translation service said...

Don't accept this kind of behaviour.