Bush calls for a stronger, better funded SEC

The speech, which follows hot on the heels of the collapse of Andersen and a string of accounting scandals including the WorldCom and Enron debacles, comes as he battles to win back investor and public confidence in corporate America.

Bush said the SEC, the country’s chief financial watchdog, should receive the money to help it hire enforcement officers and to bolster its technology.

At the moment, executives only face civil action for falsifying accounts, but jail sentences in the region of ten years may be introduced.

Bush also called for stronger laws against shredding documents and other forms of obstructing justice, according to reports.

Most recently, WorldCom revealed improper accounting totalling $3.8bn, while America’s third biggest company Enron collapsed after hiding billions in debt.

Similar scandals have rocked Xerox, Global Crossing and Merck.

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