Corporate fraud is only one form of transnational financial crimes and money laundering is a prominent form which involves the false legitimisation of illegal funds (Unger & Van Der Linde, 2013, p. 22). Increasing attention has been given to this form of financial crime, particularly on an international level, which has provoked the creation of laws across the globe designed to detect, punish and prevent it (Otusanya, 2009). Globalisation has rendered it all the more easy for finances to be transferred between countries, hence the international status of money laundering (Beekarry, 2013). This type of transnational financial crime poses a particular threat to the economic and political wellbeing of states and national governments (Rusmin & Alistair, 2007). This has led to reforms in anti-money laundering regulations across the globe, as it has been recognised that such activity must be more aggressively monitored, prevented and punished (Ridley & Dean, 2012). This strongly indicates that a prominent motivational factor in the perpetration of transnational financial crimes is a lack of effective regulation, monitoring and awareness of those who engage in such conduct.
With little fear of detection, and in the absence of suitable mechanisms, individuals are not deterred from committing such crimes, particularly due to the huge financial and other benefits that they reap as a result of such activity. Bribery and corruption are commonplace in the modern world, due to major developments in the methods by which business transactions may be conducted.
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention 1999 (Article 1) defines bribery as the offer, promise or giving of ‘any undue pecuniary or other advantage…to a foreign official…in order that the official act or refrain from acting in relation to the performance of official duties in order to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage’. Corruption is defined as the ‘abuse of entrusted power for personal gain’ (Transparency International UK, 2011, p. 3). While these definitions are contained in several conventions, there is interestingly no internationally accepted definition of bribery and corruption (Shacklock & Galtung, 2016). This is problematic because it results in inconsistent interpretation of these crimes in various legal systems. It also reveals a further important issue – that the development, impact and application of international law can be hindered by a lack of consensus on the definition of crimes, and also other matters, such as the degree of fault required to establish liability. As will be explored in greater detail in the following chapters, this supports the claim that a motivational cause of the perpetration of transnational financial crimes may be the lack of an international consensus on how they should be regulated, defined and implemented. The existence of international legislative frameworks, moreover, does not ensure that national laws will follow suit, or adopt a consistent approach globally (Dixon, 2013). This indicates the discrepancy that often exists between international and national law, which could be defined as a further motivational cause of the perpetration of transnational financial crimes. Although an international law may exist, if it is not incorporated effectively (or at all) into national law, then its impact and purpose is undermined. In the context of corruption, the occurrence of such crimes in the UK has been attributed to the failure of the UK to adequately incorporate international anti- corruption regulations into UK national law (Persson et al, 2013). This is perplexing because research shows that UK companies have a long-standing tradition of bribery for the purpose of winning public contracts and superseding national laws that they consider to be a hindrance to their success (Carr & Outhwaite, 2009).
This brief overview indicates the impact that transnational financial crimes can have, and also the problems that plague attempts to prevent such activities. National legislation is often influenced by broader, economic and political initiatives that seek to ensure a country’s position within the competitive global market (Brummer, 2015). This has hindered the development of an international legal framework on transnational financial crimes. In order to determine whether international or national laws have the biggest impact on the perpetration of transnational financial crimes, it is necessary to more profoundly examine a specific form of financial crime. Focus will therefore be directed towards fraud and corporate fraud.
We expect senior management to take clear responsibility for managing financial crime risks, which should be treated in the same manner as other risks faced by the business. There should be evidence that senior management are actively engaged in the firm’s approach to addressing the risks.
- When did senior management, including the board or appropriate sub-committees, last consider financial crime issues? What action followed discussions?
- How are senior management kept up to date on financial crime issues? (This may include receiving reports on the firm’s performance in this area as well as ad hoc briefings on individual cases or emerging threats.)
- Is there evidence that issues have been escalated where warranted?
Examples of good senior management practice
- Senior management set the right tone and demonstrate leadership on financial crime issues.
- A firm takes active steps to prevent criminals taking advantage of its services.
- A firm has a strategy for self-improvement on financial crime.
- There are clear criteria for escalating financial crime issues.
Examples of poor practice
- There is little evidence of senior staff involvement and challenge in practice.
- A firm concentrates on narrow compliance with minimum regulatory standards and has little engagement with the issues.
- Financial crime issues are dealt with on a purely reactive basis.
- There is no meaningful record or evidence of senior management considering financial crime risks.
An Investigative Study into Causal Factors of the Perpetration of Transnational Financial & Economic Crime (s)
Fraud and corruption are always evolving. Changes in methods, technology and other factors make it critically important those trying to prevent and detect it to evolve, as well. Part of that process is to analyse fraud, corruption, bribery, money laundering and other crimes through the lense of research and casework. When experts share their findings and their knowledge into the numerous laws and regulations that address fraud, everyone benefits – especially vulnerable businesses and other organisations. CRI Group has recently published three new whitepapers that provide insightful looks into issues at the forefront of fraud and corruption today. They range from deep dives into the U.S., U.K. and other anti-fraud and anti-corruption laws around the world, to close examinations of actual fraud cases that hold lessons for all of us. We invite you to download these whitepapers and increase your knowledge of fraud, corruption, proper compliance, risk assessments, due diligence and more.
As transnational financial crimes have increased over the past few years, attentions have turned to the need to more fully understand the motivations that lead to the perpetration of such crimes. US and UK law will be critically compared in order to determine the extent to which they can be deemed effective in preventing financial crimes. This comparative study will focus on corporate fraud in a bid to support the ultimate conclusion set forth; that weaknesses in national laws are a core causal factor in the perpetration of transnational financial crimes. This reveals the need to strengthen such laws in order to deter and prevent such criminal activity.
This whitepaper provides an in-depth study of transnational financial crimes and the national laws and regulations that govern them. Laws in the U.S. and the U.K, in particular, are compared and examined in terms of effectiveness in preventing financial crimes. The comparative study focuses on corporate fraud. “The Catalysts for Economic Crime” pursues the question as to how weaknesses in national laws can be considered “a core causal factor in the perpetration of transnational financial crimes.” Readers will learn about the need to strengthen such laws or risk continued and increased criminal activity. Different types of financial crimes are examined, including money laundering, due to its prominence as a form of transnational financial crime. The research provides a detailed discussion of the inadequacies in current national laws, and proposes solutions through increased accountability, compliance-focused on self-governance and heightened monitoring for violations, among other important considerations.