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Government signs up to EU white-collar crime directive

THE Government will sign up to new regulations on white-collar crime as the EU looks for closer co-operation on the problem.

The EU is negotiating a directive dealing with insider trading and market manipulation. Yesterday, Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said the Cabinet had approved Ireland's participation in these talks.

In a statement, Mr Bruton said the directive had become vitally important as markets become so inter-connected.

"As financial markets become more and more international in their operations, it becomes important to protect their integrity with strong regulatory and sanctioning regimes that can be enforced across borders," Mr Bruton said. "By opting in at this early stage in these negotiations, Ireland can work with other members states to design a modern and effective EU framework for combating serious financial crime."

Mr Bruton will now take the proposal to enter talks to the Oireachtas where it is expected to be approved.

The directive, which was first mooted by Europe last October, will provide for a common set of offences across the EU and require member states to provide at least a minimum level of criminal sanctions in their national laws.

The directive is intended to end the situation where investors who trade on inside information or manipulate markets can avoid criminal sanctions by moving between different member states with softer rules on white-collar crime.

The new directive, when it comes into force, will update and strengthen the EU's existing market-abuse directive.

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