Led by the US Justice Department the new group will prosecute financial crimes

US President Barack Obama has set up a new corporate fraud taskforce to replace the one established by his predecessor George Bush in 2002.

Led by the US Justice Department, the group will investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

The interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force will strengthen efforts to combat financial crime and build upon efforts already underway to combat mortgage, securities and corporate fraud, said the administration.

Attorney General Eric Holder said: "This task force’s mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening. We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and will not hesitate to bring charges, where appropriate, for criminal misconduct on the part of businesses and business executives."

Treasury Secretary Geithner added: "Through the Financial Fraud Task Force, we are making clear that the Obama Administration is going to act aggressively and proactively in a coordinated effort to combat financial fraud. It’s not enough to prosecute fraud only after it’s become widespread. We can’t wait for problems to peak before we respond. We’re seeking comprehensive financial reform to create a more stable, safer financial system and stepping up our enforcement strategy. Doing so will help to stop emerging trends in financial fraud before they’re able to cause extensive, system-wide damage to our economy."

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan commented: "No one agency is going to be able to stop financial fraud. This Task force will build upon many of the inter-agency collaborations already underway to protect consumers and restore confidence."

"Many financial frauds are complicated puzzles that require painstaking efforts to piece together. By formally coordinating our efforts, we will be better able to identify the pieces, assemble the puzzle and put an end to the fraud," said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro.