Gordon Brown: Rogue bankers should face prosecution
Former Prime Minister warns not enough has changed since the financial crash.
Rogue bankers should face jail for running risks with other people's money, according to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
In his new memoirs Mr Brown warns not enough had changed since the financial crash.
He forecast failure to get tough on dishonest bankers - with prison sentences, removal of bonuses and confiscation of assets - would give the "green light" to further bad behaviour.
Mr Brown also revealed he was prepared to quit if the multi-billion pound bank bailout package failed to prevent a further collapse in the financial markets.
As Prime Minister at the time of the crash, and Chancellor for a decade before that, Mr Brown acknowledged he would have had to resign if the intervention had failed on October 8, 2008.
He even told his wife Sarah to be ready to leave Downing Street.
In his memoir My Life, Our Times, Mr Brown warns "little has changed" since 2009 and the banks that were deemed "too big to fail" were now even larger.
Banks' profits were at least in part the result of government safeguards which meant "the risks they are taking is often not with their money but with ours".
'If bankers' conduct was dishonest by the ordinary standards of what is reasonable and honest, should there not have been prosecutions in the UK as we have seen in Ireland, Iceland, Spain and Portugal?'Gordon Brown
Mr Brown said "it cannot be right" that disgraced former RBS boss Fred Goodwin "walked away with all of his past bonuses untouched" after the collapse of the bank.
He said under Mr Goodwin "millions of pounds were simply wasted" by RBS, with spending including a £200m annual sponsorship budget and payments to sports stars to act as "global ambassadors" for the bank.
Mr Brown said: "At no point did I ever hear Fred Goodwin express real contrition to me - or to anyone else - for his role in the bank's collapse."
Reflecting on the lessons of the financial crash, Mr Brown said: "If bankers' conduct was dishonest by the ordinary standards of what is reasonable and honest, should there not have been prosecutions in the UK as we have seen in Ireland, Iceland, Spain and Portugal?"
Mr Brown suggested the Fraud Act should be used to tackle bankers who abuse their positions, make false representations or fail to disclose information.
He said: "If bankers who act fraudulently in this way are not put in prison with their bonuses returned, assets confiscated and banned from future practice, we will only give a green light to similar risk-laden behaviour in new forms."
At the height of the crisis in October 2008, the government and Bank of England announced a bailout package offering £500bn of support to banks.
Mr Brown said: "When I got up the next morning I told Sarah that she would have to be ready to pack our things for a sudden move out of Downing Street.
"If what I was about to do failed, with markets collapsing further and confidence ebbing from Britain, I would have no choice but to resign."
The former Labour leader expressed regret that after losing the 2010 election his plans for a "global banking constitution" to prevent a repeat of the crash faltered.
He said: "In the end, delivering these proposals meant overcoming more obstacles than I had time left in government to surmount.
"And, just at the time I argued for enhanced cooperation, I found resistance to change was growing."