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54 How. J. Crim. Just. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj54 and id is 1 raw text is: 




The Howard journal Vol 54 No 1. February 2015    DOI: 10.1111/hojo.12110
ISSN 0265-5527, pp. 1-7




  Introduction to the Special Issue on

            'Crimes of the Powerful'


            STEVE TOMBS and DAVID WHYTE
 Steve Tombs is Professor of Criminology, The Open University; David Whyte
              is Reader in Sociology, University of Liverpool



In Britain - after 40 years of a neoliberal restructuring of state, economy,
institutions, and virtually all aspects of cultural and intellectual life - it is
hard to avoid the sense that our biggest private corporations are out of
control. The roll call of corporate crime that emerged in the period during
which we negotiated, worked on, and brought together this Special Issue,
is both stunning and  routine. Several national newspapers have been
involved in phone-tapping and pay-offs to police officers, a national news-
paper has closed down  and a series of court cases remain in train, with
more  convictions likely to ensue. Allegations of price-fixing abound,
notably in the energy supply industry, while the European Commission is
currently conducting an investigation into key corporate players in the oil
industry - including BP and Shell - for their alleged roles in price manipu-
lation. Meanwhile, the rush to fracking tramples over local concerns whilst
ignoring global climate change, a phenomenon  which threatens human
existence. Tax scams in the UK by some of the world's largest companies
- Google, Starbucks, Vodafone - appear virtually beyond the ability of any
nation state to restrain (Farnsworth and Fooks, this issue). In the food
retail industry, a labelling scandal has recently been exposed in which
horsemeat was sold as 'beef' by supermarkets and major brands in the UK,
whilst low-level food poisoning from bacteria such as campylobacter is
virtually institutionalised as part of food consumption. A Serious Fraud
Office investigation into alleged bribery by Rolls-Royce in Indonesia and
China has recently been extended, while Glaxo-Smith Kline is fined £297
million and several senior executives given suspended sentences by the
Chinese courts for the same offence, with similar allegations about the
company   circulating in the United States, Britain, Poland, Syria, Iraq,
Jordan and Lebanon.  The banking sector has been mired in all manner of
low-level 'mis-selling' crime waves (Tombs, this issue), as well as, and
simultaneously, grand-corruption scandals. Conservative estimates show
that the London  Interbank Offered Rate  (Libor) fixing alone involved
frauds that were comparable to the combined losses of World Com and
Enron.' Those  frauds led to fines of £290 million being imposed on

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© 2015 The Howard League and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ UK

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