Employee Background Checks: a requisite for all businesses

Employee Background checks are inescapable for your organisation if you are looking to minimise risks surrounding a bad hire. The concept of an employee background check has become one of the most significant phases in the recruitment process.

The escalating figure of crime scenes and fraudulence incidents is a key justification why organisations take up this step as aside from the rising crime rates, organisations are also becoming hyperaware of their employee turnover rate, employee burnout, employee retention, etc. Employee Background Checks are a highly effective method of ensuring that organisations are recruiting the finest. What are the key concepts of conducting an employee background check and why is it substantial for corporations of all sizes and statures?

Concept of Employee Background Check

In wake of the digital development, it is fair to say that the recruitment process has become quite demanding, and an employee needs to cross numerous phases to in due course reach the finishing point. The Employee Background Check is quite a time-consuming concept as employers strive to have the greatest pick from the numerous candidates who have come up for the recruitment process. After the interview sessions are over, it needs some time to let the employee know about their joining since this is the time when most organisations go through the employee background check procedure. Some companies opt to perform this procedure in-house while some others hire external service providers to conduct a comprehensive check of the employee’s academic, professional, and even social presence. After the employer is gratified with the check, the employee is offered an appointment letter to join them.

CRI Group‘s EmploySmart™ can be tailored into specific screening packages to meet the requirements of each specific position within your organisation. Ensure a safe work environment for all.  Download the brochure or click here to get a free quote.

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Significance of The Employee Background Check and its Advantages

Organisations carry out such checks due to a myriad of reasons, some of these include:

1. Knowing The Validity of The Resume

Many candidates tend to embellish their experiences on their resume and make use of such methods to obtain their desired job through such falsified recognitions. If a candidate does obtain their role through this method, likely, they will not be able to handle the position well making this a complicated situation for the employee and the employer concurrently. Therefore, it is incredibly valuable to know what the candidate has falsified on their resume. An appropriate and comprehensive verification of the employee’s background can unveil all such truths in front of the employer. After knowing the true details, employers can make a judgment that will be more beneficial for the organisation as well as the employee.

2. Knowing About the Nature of The Candidate

Like the falsified details on the resume, candidates also tend to wear somewhat of the false mask of confidence on their faces while attending the interview. It is tricky to distinguish and judge a person in a conversation of a few minutes. If it is a career profile where the pressure is going to be intense, it is crucial to know whether the candidate can handle such pressure or not. Knowing the authentic behaviour and personality aids in evading bad hires. The experts of the verification check get you an appropriate note about the personality, nature, and behaviour of the candidate to determine whether they can match up to the demands of the needed position.

3. Knowing Experiences at The Past Offices

Candidates come up with diplomatic answers about their past experiences when a question is thrown at them about said experiences. Many of the experts suggest cracking this during the interview session as the employers must verify the factual scenario at the previous offices. It may turn out that the candidate had a terrible record at the last office, or it may also happen that the employer had fired the candidate from the last job. There can be a few things that can happen. You can of course offer the candidate a chance to clarify, but it is imperative to get the verification done before this.

4. Knowing Criminal Experience and Legal Support

Having an employee background check is also about having an awareness of any criminal experience a candidate could have potentially had. It can be unsafe for the organisation to hire an employee with such a background and place them amid unharmful employees. It is just as vital to know whether the candidate has legal support or not. If yes, it should be checked whether the candidate has misused the support in the past or not. If the candidate has misused the support in the form of a lawsuit or so in the past, they do the same for your organisation too.

What to include in Employee Background Check?

  • History of employment: Verify the reference given by the candidate as it confirms their behavioural and working patterns with previous employers. This way, their overall performance, commitment, and proclivities can be assessed.
  • Criminal background: It is essential to determine that the candidate does not have a criminal history. It is inevitable, principally for the profiles related to defence or trust.
  • Credit history: Knowing the credit rating of your candidate is also important as this reveals the integrity of the employees. This can be done by completing an employee background check for the credit history.
  • Terror Watch List: For the businesses running in countries like the USA, checking the Terror Watch List of their candidates is especially critical. Again, it is a necessity for security positions.
  • Checking Social Security: Organisations should check the legitimacy of Social Security Number. Proper background checks of distinct names, aliases, date of birth, history of addresses, etc. This way, it can be found out if the candidate has been living with other names or anything else questionable which is not accessible in criminal records.
  • Checking public/court records: This is done to check if the candidate has been or is implicated in any sort of court proceedings or not. This is very significant in picking the right candidate that can offer comprehensive devotion to the job profile you are proposing to extend.
  • Reference checks: There are two types of reference Employee Background Checks: personal and employment. Both facilitate in confirming the integrity, reliability, steadiness, and personality of the employee.
  • Checking Sex Offender Registry: Sex Offender Registry check must be an integral part of the employee background check as you must not endanger other employees or consumers, especially in roles surrounding children and other susceptible individuals, by hiring a sexual predator.
  • Education check: This sort of background check is carried out to determine the authenticity of the various credentials provided by the candidate you are planning to recruit.
  • Driving Records: If your candidate is required to drive a company-owned vehicle, then checking driving records and license is essential for you.
  • Record of Military Service: You need to pay attention to some key measures while hiring a candidate with a military service record. That is why checking the military service records of your candidates is also important.
  • Compensation Record: Checking the candidate’s compensation claims from past employers is also significant before hiring an employee.

Measures to take for Employee Background Checks

Having a proper flow chart of different steps
  • Organisations must have a consistent policy for the employee background check, and for this, responsible authorities should know about the different steps they need to follow for background verification. A flow chart of all the steps is often used for this measure as they are easily comprehensible across the board. 
Legal Assistance to understand the role of Local Laws in Employee Background Check
  • An assortment of confidential data is involved in the background check which is why taking legal Assistance will help avoid many sorts of legal complications.
Opt for FCRA Compliant Employee Background Check
  • As FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) determine what you can and cannot do in your employee background check proceedings and govern all the background checks, organisations must ensure that they follow FCRA’s rules and regulation.
In case of any mistake or misunderstanding, allow a candidate to Clear Up that.
  • There are instances in which the data an employer has received can be incorrect; it is important to offer the chance to a candidate to rectify those misunderstandings as it determines a prudent and productive practice.
Being aware of the difference b/w Investigative Consumer Reports and Reference Checks
  • If you reject a candidate because of the Investigative Consumer Report, the candidate needs to be provided with a copy of that report. However, if the information was obtained via reference check, such as asking past employers, you need not give such details to the candidate.
Academic references Checking
  • Academic circles and experience are easily exaggerated and manipulated areas in recruitment and can be problematic and at times difficult to identify. Therefore the prospective employer ought to start their reference check from this point. Undeniably, there is no need whatsoever to employ an applicant who is not honest regarding their academic qualification as they would not be productive and are likely to have ill motives. Consequently, they could be a liability to your organisation. This kind of candidate cannot be trusted at all, and therefore there is no need why the employer should. However, it would be to think such an individual for their interest in your organisation but never should one hire them.
Call current and former supervisors.
  • At times, it can prove difficult to extract any information about an applicant due to some legal handles and the fear of being sued for character defamation or even libel where the information which would be given might be negative, especially from either the current or former employers of your prospective candidate. However, it is worthwhile to find out as the data available at your disposal allows for sound and appropriate decisions to be made for the benefit of both the organisation and other members of staff.
Checking one’s network of associates
  • Undeniably, for those who have been in the personnel management department, it is most likely that they have a vibrant network of associates, friend colleagues and family members who would be willing to share information about a prospective employee. It is therefore essential and significant to gather information from them. It would not be surprising that one might even get more information from such people.
Browse online sites
  • With the use of the internet and using several search engines or numerous social sites, one is likely to find crucial and critical information that would go a long way in facilitating the employer get sufficient data about either the applicant or the organisation that they have worked or claim to have worked for.
  • This information might range from positive to negative, thereby allowing the employer to make the right decision. Undoubtedly, the internet is a sure and free source of data that any prospective employer should employ in doing a background check.

In conducting employee background checks, there are some golden rules that one needs to observe to avoid any legal and challenges in executing the duties of their human resources and making the background check most effective and efficient. These do and don’ts include but are not limited to:

Do’s

  • Having a consistent background checks policy and detailing how the policy should be used.
  • Getting legal advice on how to conduct background checks under the local legal framework.
  • Giving the applicants a chance to clear up any faults or misconstructions appearing on their documentations and during the interview process is inconsistent with your background check.
  • Employing the services of background check services compliant with the legal frameworks of your particular region
  • Understanding the difference between background checks vis-à-vis investigative consumer reports.

Don’ts

  • Avoid making decisions on using the background checks on an applicant-by-applicant basis.
  • Avoid the assumption that some parts of the background check process routine
  • Avoid making decisions without letting the applicant a chance to respond.
  • Avoid assuming that any companies seeking information about an individual are legally compliant.
  • Avoid requesting information about the character or personal and private of an individual while verifying the historical employment facts.

Fundamentally, employee background checks are not too viewed superficially as they play an important role in ensuring that neither the employer nor the organisation encounter loss or legal handles in exercising their mandate and role. Consequently, by attracting competency and matching the skills with the tasks, employers ensure that their organisations remain profitable and are sustainably produced and competitive in their respective fields.

Finally, the most critical information that these background checks elicit are vital and are diversified in range and scope depending on the tasks to be performed and are as follows:

Criminal Records

Indeed background checks are instrumental in providing information about the particular individual, which would inevitably be vital, especially where the candidate is required to handle or maintain high levels of trust, confidentiality and security. Consequently, this kind and level of reliability would not be forthcoming from a criminal record person.

Social Security Validation

Apart from and the individual being tax compliant, background checks guarantees the legitimacy of the applicant’s social security number. The Social Security Validation facilitates in and discovering of all the names, as well as aliases and any variations thereof, dates of birth in addition to the history addresses associated with the applicant.

This limits the incidents of the employer contracting an individual who has a criminal record or does not have any legal status of seeking and getting employed in that country or region. Further still, it provided information on whether the candidate has ever lived in unrevealed places or under other pseudonyms that could divulge unlawful records that wouldn’t have otherwise been established.

Address History

Address History background checks help in tracing prior addresses where the applicant could have resided and facilitated the establishment of where else the applicant could have lived, making it easier in the verification of their true identity and may form the basis of further interview questions as well as getting to know the candidate better.

Terror Watch List

With the prevalent threat of terrorism and the global danger posed by terrorists, a thorough background check is more likely to establish if your potential employee could have been involved in terror acts or whether they are in any country or even states terror watch list. Although this was explicitly imperative for security jobs, it has been deemed necessary in almost every profession due to the changing dynamics and tactics employed by terrorists and other criminal syndicates in the twenty-first century.

Sex Offender and human trafficking Registry Check

With the ever-increasing levels of human trafficking, child pornography, organ harvesting, paedophilia and sexually related abuse globally, it is paramount that for positions dealing with minors, the marginalised and the most vulnerable through background checks are a necessity rather than just an option to ascertain the credibility of the applicant to avert and reduce the prevalence of the vices above.

Necessities for conducting Employee Background Checks

  • You need to have your full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number for doing a background check.
  • If you want to check credit reports, military records, and school transcripts, you need the candidate’s permission.
  • If you hire an outside company to do the background check, you need to take the candidate’s permission.
  • If the candidate denies the permission, you will be entitled to take the candidate out of consideration for that job profile.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

One of the major disadvantages that you can see is the wastage of time and money. The organisation invests large sums of money in conducting such investigations, and most of the time, the person turns out to be a genuine one and with the time it takes to conduct these checks, the candidate may think that the organisation is not interested and hence, they may join some other organisation in this period.

Judging a candidate on their background deeds may not always prove to be fruitful either. It may happen that a candidate got trapped in a criminal, offence and in an actual sense, they are a gem of a person. But when you do not know the candidate personally, you will focus on the verification reports and let a genuine person go.

Opting for an employee background check depends on the type of your business and the kind of job profile you are going to hire that candidate. Getting an employee background check has become eminent today because there have been so many instances each day.  They are getting the verification done to get the employer the satisfaction that they are selecting a genuine person and will not hamper the reputation and environment of the company.

If there is still any uncertainty in your mind about conducting employee background checks, why not reach out to us? CRI Group has experts across the globe from all backgrounds who are trained to provide you with specialised, expert advice fit for your business needs. Get in touch today!

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Business Intelligence; Investigative operations vs Intelligence operations

Business Intelligence (BI) is a phrase coined for the analytical procedures an organisation commences. Business Intelligence is known to be a largely successful method of conducting market research as it merges data derivative from the peripheral environment (i.e., market and industry) in which an organisation operates with data from the core environment of the organisation as fiscal and controls data. When combined, this data can deliver a complete image of any business decisions a firm can make as a means of benefit to themselves; this ranges from operational decisions such as product positioning to strategic decisions such as pricing.

What is counted as Business Intelligence Solutions?

Business Intelligence Solutions can take on numerous forms and structures in today’s complex corporate environment. BI solution investigates everything from assets to the exterior disputes facing an organisation. It can also appraise an organisation’s employees to ensure that the organisation’s integrity, reputation, and bottom-line profits are safeguarded from any malice and illicit activities.

CRI® Group takes two approaches to BI solutions:

  • Intelligence operations (via market research and analysis): we focus on researching the future and potential growth of your business – i.e. determine the commercial viability and potential for success in the market, analyse consumer behaviour and business trends in that market, etc.
  • Investigative operations (via commercial investigations): we focus on the current status of your business – i.e. location of assets, financial information, identification of unmet needs of any market, gauge brand awareness and identity in the market, etc.)

why not check out our BI solutions below?

CHECK OUT OUR BI SOLUTIONS  or  DOWNLOAD BROCHURE

What are Intelligence operations?

Investigation and Evaluation facilities are constructed to aid clients during the business intelligence procedure. Intelligence operations are highly acclaimed for organisations of all industries as the service aids the preliminary phases of detecting the necessary components for a suitable corporate policy to the closing phases of execution. At CRI® Group we know that data is your greatest advantage when performing enterprise on several degrees.

Our market research will collect the statistics mandatory to make significant corporate decisions; everything varying from registering into other markets or industries to associating or partnering with other organisations (i.e., Mergers and Acquisitions) is covered in our BI Solutions. CRI® Group is proficient in understanding and transmitting this data in a way that allows you to implement it into your corporate development; our experts are trained to the highest degree and understand how to get the proper data promptly.

CRI’s methodology is to assist the organisation in tracing corporate movements and market changes which in turn, will aid in steering them through the practice of successfully conveying their brand in the larger market to then be able to market their goods and services accordingly. With representatives in nations across the globe, CRI® Group is distinctively situated to assist you in traversing cultural and regulatory environments to maximise your market potential in the regions you seek to trade.

Gaining insight into how your brand reputation affects potential buyers and understanding what motivates the market to purchase will enable you to establish effective marketing programs that impact your audiences and build brand loyalty among buyers.

What are Investigative operations?

It is no secret that every industry has its issues. Some matters, however, such as Employee Theft, Company Fraud, rivalry, continuous malingering, or Industrial Espionage, can start on a moderately trivial scale but as time advances, the culprit becomes brasher in their endeavours (typically due to an absence of discovery) instigating the situation to develop out of control and start being detrimental your commerce.

As an organisation, you have every right to be involved with the internal activities of your firm hence, carrying out commercial investigations on your employees as a means of curtailing threats is not out of the question. Our team of experts can support you to do this in a manner that is equally as ethical as it is providing as it delivers you the data you so greatly pursue.

Commercial investigations can be achieved for any form of an enterprise including commercial, industrial, legal, and public sector corporations. Our team hail from a range of different backgrounds, including military and fraud investigators which is why CRI® Group is so adaptable in its approach to help you with intelligence and investigative operations.

A little bit overwhelmed and wanting to learn more? Get in touch and let us know how we can help!

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Inadequate due diligence hit Space-transport SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine

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Inadequate due diligence hit SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine

Inadequate due diligence hit SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine after misleading investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged the Momentus particular purpose acquisition company (SPAC), its sponsor SRC-NI, the sponsor’s CEO Brian Kabot, the company, and founder Mikhail Kokorich – which involved in a $1.2 billion space-transport SPAC for defrauding investors and obscuring the CEO’s status as a US national security risk.

The Fraud Claimed

The SPAC, Stable Road Acquisition Corp, had sought to merge with Momentus, a private start-up, to take it public. Momentus’s key offering was a “microwave electro-thermal water plasma thruster,” a way of zapping water vapour to propel a spacecraft, intending to transport satellites into space.

But Momentus’s propulsion tech failed to show results, according to SEC filings. A test mission fell well short of the company’s benchmarks, and a former Momentus employee said that the test yielded “no data to suggest that that thruster would deliver an impulse of any commercial significance.”

According to the SEC’s settled order, Kokorich and Momentus, an early-stage space transportation company, repeatedly told investors that it had “successfully tested” its propulsion technology in space when, in fact, the company’s only in-space test had failed to achieve its primary mission objectives or demonstrate the technology’s commercial viability.

The order finds that Momentus and Kokorich also misrepresented the extent to which national security concerns involving Kokorich undermined Momentus’s ability to secure required governmental licenses essential to its operations.

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The compliance issue: Inadequate due diligence

The SEC’s settled order finds that Stable Road repeated Momentus’s misleading statements in public filings associated with the proposed merger and failed its due diligence obligations to investors.

According to the order, while Stable Road claimed to have conducted extensive due diligence of Momentus, it never reviewed Momentus’s in-space test results or received sufficient documents relevant to assessing the national security risks posed by Kokorich.

The order finds that Kabot participated in Stable Road’s inadequate due diligence and filed its inaccurate registration statements and proxy solicitations. The SEC’s complaint against Kokorich includes factual allegations that are consistent with the findings in the order.

“This case illustrates risks inherent to SPAC transactions, as those who stand to earn significant profits from a SPAC merger may conduct inadequate due diligence and mislead investors. Stable Road, a SPAC, and its merger target, Momentus, both misled the investing public. The fact that Momentus lied to Stable Road does not absolve Stable Road of its failure to undertake adequate due diligence to protect shareholders. Today’s actions will prevent the wrongdoers from benefitting at the expense of investors and help to better align the incentives of parties to a SPAC transaction with those of investors relying on truthful information to make investment decisions.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler

The litigation against Momentus, Stable Road, and Kabot

Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Anita B, mentioned in her statement that Momentus’s former CEO alleged to have engaged in fraud by misrepresenting the viability of the company’s technology and his status as a national security threat, inducing shareholders to approve a merger in which he stood to obtain shares worth upwards of $200 million.

The SEC’s order finds that Momentus violated scienter-based antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and caused sure of Stable Road’s violations. It also considers that Stable Road violated negligence-based antifraud provisions of the US federal securities laws as well as specific reporting and proxy solicitation provisions.

The order finds that Kabot violated provisions of the federal securities laws related to proxy solicitations. Kabot and SRC-NI caused Stable Road’s violation of Section 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Momentus, Stable Road, Kabot, and SRC-NI consented to an order requiring them to cease from future violations. Momentus, Stable Road, and Kabot will pay civil penalties of $7 million, $1 million, and $40,000, respectively.

Inadequate due diligence hit SPAC Momentus $8 million SEC fine. Source: US Securities and Exchange Commission 

What do you actually know about the integrity of the 3rd party and their way of doing business? Do they adhere to (inter)national regulations on anti-bribery and anti-corruption? Is it possible that there is a liability risk?

Due diligence on potential business partners when adding a new vendor or even hiring a new employee is vital to confirm the legitimacy and reduce the risks associated with such professional relationships. Global integrity DueDiligence360TM investigations provide your business with the critical information it needs in making sound decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and the selection of vendors, suppliers, and employees. It will ensure that working with an, i.e. potential trade partner will ultimately achieve your organisation’s strategic and financial goals.

At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions worldwide. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates. CRI’s unique identity and vision evolved from our fundamental desire to support our clients and their candidates. Safeguard your business and its integrity with DueDiligence360™.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. CRI Group is trusted by the world’s largest corporations and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider, and you will only ever have to look forward, never back.

CRI Group investigators employ a proven, multi-faceted research approach that involves a global array of databases, courts and public record searches, local contacts, industry and media resources, and in-depth web-based research. Our resources include:

  • International business verification
  • Individual business interest search
  • Personal profile on individual subjects
  • Company profile on corporate entities
  • Historical ownership analysis
  • Identification of subsidiaries & connected parties
  • Global/national criminality & regulatory records checks
  • Politically Exposed Person database
  • International digital media research
  • Company background analysis
  • Industry reputational assessment
  • FCPA, UK Anti-Bribery & corruption risk databases
  • Global terrorism checks
  • Global financial regulatory authorities checks
  • Money laundering risk database
  • Financial reports
  • Asset tracing
  • Country-specific databases that include litigation checks, law enforcement agencies & capital market, regulators

Protect your reputation and the risk of financial damage and regulator action using our detailed reports. They enhance your knowledge and understanding of the customer, supplier, and third-party risk, helping you avoid those involved with financial crime.

DueDiligence360™ from CRI Group

WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE PARTY & THEIR WAY OF DOING BUSINESS? DOES OR DID THIS PARTY ADHERE TO (INTER)NATIONAL REGULATIONS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION & ANTI-BRIBERY? IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THERE IS A LIABILITY RISK?

At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions across the world. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates.

CRI’s unique identity and vision evolved from our fundamental desire to support our clients and their candidates. Safeguard your business and its integrity with DueDiligence360™.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. CRI Group is trusted by the world’s largest corporations and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider and you will only ever have to look forward, never back. Clients who partner with us benefit from our:

Expertise
CRI Group has one of the largest, most experienced and best-trained integrity due diligence teams in the world.

Global scope
Our multi-lingual teams have conducted assignments on thousands of subjects in over 80 countries, and we’re committed to maintaining and constantly evolving our global network.

Flexibility
Our DueDiligence360TM service is flexible and can apply different levels of scrutiny to the subjects of our assignments, according to client needs and the nature of the project.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, the CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations.

What Is Corporate Compliance and Why It’s Important

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The Importance of Corporate Compliance

Corporate compliance should be an essential part of your business operations, regardless of size or industry. How does your business manage compliance and mitigate risk? Taking preventative measures can feel like a hassle upfront, but it can save you untold organisational costs in the long run.

Corporate compliance violations can result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, loss of reputation, and more. Keep your business from learning the lesson the hard way. Start developing a compliance program today. This article will define compliance, what it means for your business, and how you can create a successful compliance program.

What is Compliance in Business?

The definition of compliance is “the action of complying with a command,” or “the state of meeting rules or standards.” In the corporate world, it’s defined as the process of making sure your company and employees follow all laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices that apply to your organisation and industry.

Corporate compliance covers both internal policies and procedures, as well as federal and state laws. Enforcing compliance helps your company prevent and detect violations of rules, protecting your organisation from fines and lawsuits.

The compliance process should be ongoing. Many organisations  to consistently and accurately govern their compliance policies over time.

The Purpose of a Corporate Compliance Program

The purpose is to protect your business. It’s as simple as that. But the return on investment could be significant, helping you avoid waste, fraud, abuse, discrimination, and other practices that disrupt operations and put your company at risk.

Your corporate compliance program needs to be integrated with all compliance efforts enterprise-wide, from the management of external regulations and internal policies to comprehensive employee training. By making sure all departments and staff are working together to maintain standards, you can mitigate the risk of significant failures and violations.

An effective program improves communication between leadership and staff. It should include a process for creating, updating, distributing, and tracking compliance policies. After all, employees can’t be held responsible for rules and regulations they don’t know exists. But once they understand expectations, your staff can stay focused on your organisation’s broader goals and help operations run smoothly. What’s more, when employees are adequately trained on compliance requirements, they are more likely to recognise and report illegal or unethical activity.

Maintaining compliance equips your employees to do their jobs well, reach their career goals, and keep customers happy. In turn, your company can achieve its goals and grow faster.

In the unfortunate event that your organisation faces a lawsuit, your corporate compliance program will help in court.

As one report from Rutgers School of Law explained, “An organisation that has made a robust effort to prevent and detect violations of the law by its employees and others acting for it will be treated less harshly than one that was indifferent to complying with the law.”

How to Create a Successful Corporate Compliance Program

Very few businesses can afford to procrastinate on a corporate compliance program. Don’t let hindsight be 20/20 for your organisation. Have the foresight to take action today.

Your program should be carefully planned and implemented, with coinciding training programs to guarantee personnel are well-versed in all areas of compliance. Here are a few steps to establish or refine your corporate compliance program:

1. Get Your Leadership on Board

Your corporate compliance program won’t run itself. One person should be assigned the responsibility of managing the program day-to-day.

Depending on the size of your organisation, you could have one compliance officer or several. Regardless, those in charge of the compliance program must have the authority to enforce the rules and hold staff at all levels accountable.

They also need direct access to the company’s governing body, including senior management or the board of directors.

Access to senior management and authority to enforce rules is essential when potential compliance issues come up, empowering your officers to respond quickly. But communication goes both ways. The governing body needs to assess the effectiveness of the corporate compliance program regularly.

Corporate compliance is about fostering a workplace culture that values integrity and ethical conduct.

This starts at the top.

For the program to work, your leaders need to follow the rules first. They should encourage ethical behaviour and openly talk about the importance of compliance.

Company leaders should encourage employee input, emphasising that they won’t be punished for reporting unlawful or unethical behaviour.

The Department of Justice created a checklist for evaluating corporate compliance programs and suggest asking the following questions:

  • How have senior leaders encouraged or discouraged the type of misconduct in question through their words and actions?
  • What concrete actions have they taken to demonstrate leadership in the company’s compliance and remediation efforts?
  • How does the company monitor its senior leadership’s behaviour? How has senior leadership modelled proper behaviour to subordinates?
2. Conduct Risk Assessments

Corporate compliance is about managing risk.

To build an effective program, you need to know what compliance areas pose the highest risks to your organisation. Once you have identified these areas, you can focus your resources on addressing them.

Federal and state regulations, as well as industry standards, are continually evolving. To avoid the risk of non-compliance, it’s essential to conduct regular assessments. The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) suggests conducting a risk assessment once a year.

A formal assessment process, like this one recommended by the ACC, can help your organisation be proactive about preventing corporate compliance violations:

  • Audit results
  • Recent litigation
  • Compliance complaints
  • Employee claims
  • Industry enforcement trends
  • Compliance policies in each risk area
3. Establish and Maintain Your Code of Conduct, Policies, and Standards

Your corporate compliance program needs a well-defined code of conduct. Why? Because it can help define your program’s purpose and set expectations for behaviour.

The code of conduct acts as a foundation and should explain the following key points:

  • Who is responsible for managing the program
  • How employees should report misconduct
  • Disciplinary measures for violating the code of conduct

Your corporate policies should build on top of that foundation by providing guidelines for specific areas of compliance. For example, they may address common corporate compliance violations:

  • Corporate corruption
  • Bribery
  • Tax practices
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Record retention

The list goes on. But the exact areas you need to address will depend on your industry.

Once risk areas have been identified and policies created, you should establish procedures to help employees carry out policies correctly. Creating step-by-step guidelines makes it easier to follow procedures and identify non-compliance.

Risk areas in specific industries may require additional standards. For example, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act may require you to keep detailed protocols for screening third-party business partners.

4. Properly Train All Employees

Compliance policies and standards are useless if employees don’t follow them. 

After establishing the policies and procedures for your corporate compliance program, you need to disseminate them to every member of your staff.

Ensure company officers, employees, and third-party vendors read and sign off on all compliance policies and procedures.

All employees and relevant vendors should be trained on laws, regulations, corporate policies, and prohibited conduct. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may want to conduct training tailored to specific employees in high-risk areas.

The ACC recommends that you track, document, and follow up on training. By implementing a compliance policy and training management tool, you can accomplish this and automate many of your manual processes. The right software lets you distribute policies, conduct online training, create custom tests, and more.

5. Improve Your Compliance 

Creating or revising your compliance policies and training takes a lot of work. It’s an ongoing process requiring consistent monitoring and updates. But don’t wait until an incident has occurred to take action. If you and your compliance officers are already busy and time-constrained, finding the right time to implement a new program can be hard. The trick is finding a compliance management solution that fits your organisation.

If you’re ready to take control of compliance, and protect your business from risk, learn more about CRI Group compliance solutions and discover how we can help your corporate compliance program.

Compliance Solutions by CRI Group

Due Diligence 360° | Third-Party Risk Management 3PRM™ | Anti-Money Laundering Solutions 

CRI Group’s compliance solutions are tailored to your organisation’s needs, helping assure compliance in all areas and keeping you one step ahead of regulatory requirements.

Money laundering is a serious global issue and recent legislation is aimed at requiring organisations to follow strict anti-money laundering protocols.

Our Due diligence 360° services provide the specialised intelligence needed by global financial institutions and multinational corporations to guarantee complete compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and legislations.

Manage your third-party risks confidently with customised 3PRM™ solutions for your organisation or get certified. CRI Group’s own exclusive, expert-developed 3PRM™ services help you proactively mitigate risks from third-party affiliations, protecting your organisation from liability, brand damage and harm to the business.

Whether your organisation has a large, well-established third-party program, is in the early stages of development, or is anywhere in between, 3PRM™ solution can improve the health of your program and future-proof your entire business in many forms.

CONTACT US TODAY

WHO IS CRI GROUP

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be.

CRI Group also holds B.S. 102000:2013 and B.S. 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification.

ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations.

Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

To check or not to check?

Background Checks: To check or not to check?

Background checks don’t tend to make international news. They are the low-key diligent step in most well-managed recruitment processes to comfort employers that the person they are hiring is everything they seem – and nothing more.

That’s why the background checks of Belle Gibson, a super influencer who lied about having cancer, and Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to the US Supreme Court, tend to make news headlines for who can you trust if not those in direct line of the public eye?

The Story of Belle Gibson & Brett Kavanaugh

Belle Gibson was a Melbourne “wellness” who rose to fame after sharing her story on Instagram of her terminal brain cancer and how she controls it through the power of healthy eating. Gibson claimed to have kept her cancer under control by turning away conventional medicinal practices and instead of following what she termed a “wellness” diet, a diet consisting of avocados, berries, no alcohol and so on.

Sounds impressive, right? To rid yourself of an incurable disease simply through eating better? Think again – it is too good to be true. The influencers lie caused untold damage, including turning a 44-year-old mother away from her chemotherapy in hopes of attaining Ms Gibson’s lifestyle.

But the reason why this lie broke headlines is because of what followed; a book deal with Penguin Books publishing company and an Apple app titled ‘The Whole Pantry’. It was evident that neither the tech giants nor the publishers thought to verify her assertions, thus leading to a $320,000 fine and a lot more emotional damage for the individual’s that Ms Gibson had provided false hope.

Context is everything, of course, and this job-for-life is one of the more crucial public office positions in the United States. Mr Kavanaugh had undergone six separate background checks during his career before the latest, which the FBI recently completed on behalf of the White House. Each of these will have been meticulous and thorough, right down to interviews with neighbours and acquaintances.

But you don’t have to be entrusted with national security clearance to pose a real risk to your employer. All staff members are in a position of trust, and even the humblest labourers or office workers will have privileged access to property – whether physical or intellectual. And this is not a theoretical risk – it’s a truism that employees or contractors cause the vast majority of security breaches.

The compliance perspective

Interviewing the ex-wives and sports coaches of factory and desk clerks is overkill and not economic. And that is where professional background checking comes in. It allows low hassle, cost-effective and fast checking for all recruits and employees to ensure everyone is what they claim to be, from the CEO to the company mascot.

Such checks will cover everything required to give HR directors and governing boards peace of mind: from criminal record checks and right-to-work documentation to education and qualification verifications and employment records.

A properly systematised process, supported by local intelligence, is essential to keeping costs low without compromising quality or effectiveness.

CRI Group is one of the few providers with a truly global reach and more than thirty years of experience in the sector. Our proven process means that we have one of the fastest turnaround times in the industry – typically just 3-5 days. Meanwhile, our more than 175 investigatory experts on the ground across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, ensure we can navigate local customs, processes and regulations, no matter where your employees are based.

 

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider.

We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds B.S. 102000:2013 and B.S. 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301:2021 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification.

ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s international team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

 

 

John Wood Group to pay $177 million to settle bribery charges inherited through its merger

John Wood Group bribery probe trace back to its merger with Amec Foster Wheeler Plc.

John Wood Group Plc has agreed to pay $177 million to settle the UK led bribery and corruption probe into a British engineering firm it acquired in 2017. The settlement is part of a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with the Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice concerning Amec Foster Wheeler Plc.

The UK agreement is still subject to court approval. As part of the deal, the company can avoid prosecution for three years if it cooperates in the continuing bribery probe. Wood Group’s payment is one of the largest ever obtained in the UK led bribery and corruption case. The biggest was a $1.2 billion settlement with Airbus SE that also involved the US and French authorities.

In 2017, the SFO opened an investigation into Amec’s use of third parties to gain contracts, just weeks after Shareholders approved wood Group’s proposed acquisition. The DOJ said the probe concerned a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Brazil for a $190 million contract to design a gas-to-chemicals complex.

As part of the deal announced, at least $10.1 million will settle charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The DOJ said it would get about $18.4 million to resolve its criminal charges in the Brazil bribery probe. Amounts to be paid to the UK and Brazil are yet to be made public.

Wood Group announced that it was close to a settlement. It originally said it expected a deal for $186 million, with about $60 million paid in the first half of 2021 and the rest over three years. The company also agreed to pay $10 million to Scottish authorities earlier this year to settle the case.

“The investigations brought to light unacceptable, albeit historical, behaviour that I condemn in the strongest terms,” Wood Group Chief Executive Officer Robin Watson said in a statement. “Although we inherited these issues through acquisition, we took full responsibility in addressing them, as any responsible business would.”

The company has “cooperated fully with the authorities” and “taken steps to improve further our ethics and compliance program from an already strong foundation,” Watson said. “I’m pleased that, subject to final court approval in the UK, we have been able to resolve these issues and can now look to the future.”

The agreement comes amid criticism of the SFO and its inability to prosecute individuals after securing settlements with companies. Earlier this year, the SFO dropped its probe into former Airbus directors and was dealt a humiliating setback after its trial against two former Serco Group Plc directors fell apart because it failed to disclose evidence.

In May 2021, the SFO opened one of its biggest investigations into suspected fraud and money laundering concerning GFG Alliance and its financing agreements with Greensill Capital. It was after months of intense pressure from lawmakers to investigate Sanjeev Gupta’s empire.

John Wood Group bribery probe

Source: Financial Crimes News

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The importance of due diligence in merger and acquisition to avoid a similar incident happened like in John Wood Group.

Due diligence is understood as the reasonable steps taken to satisfy legal requirements in the conduct of business relations. That allows you to reduce risks – including risks arising from the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UKBA (UK Bribery Act), to make informed decisions and to pursue takeovers or mergers with more confidence.

Unlike other kinds of control (audits, market analysis, etc.), it must be completely independent and rely as little on information provided by the researched subject. The other important difference lies in the methodology: commercial or financial due diligence analyses available information, investigative type provides reliable and pertinent, but raw, information.

Due diligence on potential business partners when adding a new vendor or hiring a new employee is vital to confirm the legitimacy and reduce the risks associated with such professional relationships. Global integrity due diligence investigations provides your business with the critical information it needs to make sound decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and the selection of vendors, suppliers, and employees.

It will ensure that working with an, i.e. potential trade partner will ultimately achieve your organisation’s strategic and financial goals. CRI Group investigators employ a proven, multi-faceted research approach that involves a global array of databases, courts and public record searches, local contacts, industry and media resources, and in-depth web-based research. Our resources include:

  • International business verification

  • Individual business interest search

  • Personal profile on individual subjects

  • Company profile on corporate entities

  • Historical ownership analysis

  • Identification of subsidiaries & connected parties

  • Global/national criminality & regulatory records checks

  • Politically Exposed Person database

  • International digital media research

  • Company background analysis

  • Industry reputational assessment

  • FCPA, UK Anti-Bribery & corruption risk databases

  • Global terrorism checks

  • Global financial regulatory authorities checks

  • Money laundering risk database

  • Financial reports

  • Asset tracing

  • Country-specific databases that include litigation checks, law enforcement agencies & capital market regulators

DueDiligence360™ from CRI Group

WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE PARTY & THEIR WAY OF DOING BUSINESS? DOES OR DID THIS PARTY ADHERE TO (INTER)NATIONAL REGULATIONS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION & ANTI-BRIBERY? IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THERE IS A LIABILITY RISK?

At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions across the world. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates.

CRI’s unique identity and vision evolved from our fundamental desire to support our clients and their candidates. Safeguard your business and its integrity with DueDiligence360™.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. CRI Group is trusted by the world’s largest corporations and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider and you will only ever have to look forward, never back. Clients who partner with us benefit from our:

Expertise
CRI Group has one of the largest, most experienced and best-trained integrity due diligence teams in the world.

Global scope
Our multi-lingual teams have conducted assignments on thousands of subjects in over 80 countries, and we’re committed to maintaining and constantly evolving our global network.

Flexibility
Our DueDiligence360TM service is flexible and can apply different levels of scrutiny to the subjects of our assignments, according to client needs and the nature of the project.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, the CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations.

How to conduct background screening in the Middle East?

Background screening is critically important for business worldwide. Providing such service is a complex process, and it is different for every country and region. In the United States, investigators have a web of databases at their disposal and a vast network of local resources that provide a wealth of information at the mere click of a mouse. It’s a different world in the Middle East. Technology is limited in many parts of the region.  Privacy legislation varies from country to country and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Cultural differences can impact the flow of information. Language barriers can contribute to inaccurate reporting.

Background Screening in the Middle East

Instead of database-driven investigations like those conducted in the U.S, professionals in the Middle East must conduct large parts of their investigations literally on foot, travelling to remote regions to scour records and interview sources. If you’re looking for accurate, reliable information in the Middle East you need to turn to qualified, professional sources that are familiar with the countries, cultures, terrain, languages, resources and – most of all – the laws that govern personal privacy. In this part of the world, your contacts and resources are your greatest assets.

Discovering Hard-to-Find Facts in Hard-to-Reach Locations

The biggest challenge in conducting background investigations in the Middle East is collecting reliable information most efficiently. This requires a well-trained and diverse group of professional investigators who are multilingual and multi-cultural, are familiar with those geographic regions and can easily traverse the obstacles that often impede international investigations. Those obstacles include:

  • Working with local customs offices.
  • Complying with data protection laws and mandates.
  • Knowledge level of local investigative researchers.
  • Lack of centralised information resources and databases; and
  • The proliferation of multicultural environments that are particularly influenced by locals who vastly differ in their approaches to investigative screening and public record searches, particularly with information collected via database sources.

The Obstacle of Background Investigators in the Middle East

To address these obstacles, successful background investigators in the Middle East are often required to work deep in the field, travelling to remote destinations to conduct interviews, develop resources and enlist local assistance to verify the information. Leading background screening firms will conduct investigations that regularly involve a thorough review of local press records, using online and proprietary databases augmented by manual field research to locate the appropriate public records.

This in-depth investigative approach is necessary to bring to light any instances of malfeasance or notable, publicly aired criticism. These professionals will also research all public records that are available within the respective government institutions such as a region’s trial courts, police and SEC sources, and global sanctions lists. The goal of providing this level of investigative legwork is to collect timely, well-documented and substantiated information which will measure up to the high standards often required by our U.S. partners.

Partner With Reputable Background Screening Firms in the Middle East

As the world economy shrinks and the pool of foreign job applicants expands, a partnership with a reputable international employee screening service provider to conduct investigations abroad is essential for maintaining a safe hiring program for your clients. To ensure you’re using the best providers available, a little investigating of your own will result in big benefits down the road.

Checklist on Securing Reputable Background Screening Service:

  • Research the listing of expatriate background screening firms provided by the Professional Background Screening Association https://thepbsa.org/.
  • Ask your provider how they comply with local and regional laws governing individual privacy protection; the methods they utilise in protecting information.
  • Make sure your service provider’s physical address is in the region they’re conducting investigations. If not, they could be simply outsourcing their cases to a third party.
  • Ask about the manner in which your service provider conducts investigations. Avoid firms that investigate exclusively through media searches.
  • Inquire about the internal policies and procedures the service provider uses to monitor the protection of data and if it conducts regular audits to ensure compliance with regional privacy mandates.
  • Specifically, the provider should be in compliance with GDPR and must maintain Information Security Management System ISMS (ISO27001).
  • Don’t settle for firms that say they specialise in providing checks of the International Terrorist Watch List and the OFAC watch list. Those lists are available online to anyone at no cost.
  • Avoid firms that won’t supply you with the source of the records they obtain, were available from public record resources. Also, be sure to ask how old the information collected is.
  • Reputable firms will combine in-depth field investigations with routine public records searches. Make sure your provider is doing both. Background checks involve investigative research and not just press clippings.
  • Service delivery is critical in foreign investigations. Ask about average turnaround times and get commitments for delivery in advance of the investigation.
  • Find out what other U.S. companies use as a service provider. Ask for references.
Employee Background Check

How do you know the candidate you just offered a role to is the ideal candidate? Are you 100% sure you know that everything they’re telling you is the truth? 90%? They showed you a diploma, how do you know it’s not photoshopped? Did you follow the correct laws during your background checks process? Employee background checks and necessary screenings are vital to avoid horror stories and taboo tales that occur within HR, your business, or even your brand – simply investing in a sufficient screening can save you time, money and heartbreak.

CRI Group has developed EmploySmart™, a robust new pre-employment background screening service, certified for BS7858,  to avoid negligent hiring liabilities. Ensure a safe work environment for all – EmploySmart™ can be tailored into specific screening packages to meet the requirements of each specific position within your company. We are a leading worldwide provider, specialised in local and international employee background checks, including pre-employment and post-employment background checks.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, the CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Personal Due Diligence, Tips You Need to Know

Personal Due Diligence In Everyday Transactions

In the business world, due diligence refers to the investigation and steps were taken by organisations to satisfy all legal requirements before buying or selling products/ services or entering into a contract or a financial arrangement with another party. An Integrity Due Diligence allows an organisation to reduce risks – including risks arising from the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UKBA (U.K. Bribery Act), to make informed decisions and pursue takeovers or mergers with more confidence. Due diligence is vital to prevent many types of fraud. While in some cases, it is also up to the consumer to do their own personal due diligence. Due diligence sounds complicated, but it is merely the process of doing your homework before you make a significant commitment.

Most of us practice personal due diligence even though we may not think of it that way (i.e. research on the internet before making a purchase or deciding what restaurant to go to). In this process, we are doing our “due diligence” to get the best deal. The level of proper due diligence should be proportionate to the level of commitment involved and your specific status. So when buying a house, the due diligence ought to be more extensive (i.e. a family with children may want to check out the rating of the schools in the area). Another personal area to conduct due diligence involves a new job offer (i.e., the organisation known to treat its employees well). These areas involve a significant amount of due diligence on your part before accepting a new position at a new company.

Due Diligence Makes Trust Possible

In the U.K., the lack of clarity from the Government has already caused problems. Many landlords are averse to letting their properties to non-UK nationals if they are in breach of the Right to Rent rules post-Brexit. The Government is under increased pressure to give clear guidance on post-Brexit Right to Work and Right to Rent checks. Whether you are renting a property, having home renovations done, buying insurance, getting a mortgage, or even entering a new romantic relationship, you can use due diligence to protect yourself. Due diligence can prevent potential fraud and some other types of scams.

The following are tips on how to avoid fraud:

  • Know who you are dealing with, ask questions and verify the information;
  • Check with the governing body for licensing and insurance requirements;
  • Scammers pressure you to act immediately. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand;
  • Don’t sign anything for large amounts of money without having it reviewed by your lawyer;
  • Scammers say there’s a problem or a prize. Do not give out your personal information without verifying who is getting it;
  • Be cautious if you are asked to make up-front payments;
  • Get company information, including name and address and ensure that a written contract backs all verbal promises;
  • Have a contract in place for things like construction work;
  • Never give an unsolicited caller access to your computer;
  • Do not give out a credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the number you are calling came from a trusted source;
  • Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way. Never wire money unless you’re absolutely confident that you’re sending it to someone you know;
  • Be suspicious of any calls from supposedly distressed relatives who don’t give their names. After hanging up, try calling the family member with the phone numbers you have to see if they actually need help;
  • Scammers pretend to be from an organisation you know. Be suspicious of any calls from a supposed government agency or other businesses demanding payments; and
  • Landlords should check references (in some cases, a police criminal record check), credit reports, and employment information of potential tenants.

Online Fraud is on the rise

In a time of crisis, we often see the best in people. Even before COVID-19 was officially classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic, citizens and government leaders alike praised the selfless sacrifice of doctors, nurses, first responders and others putting themselves in harm’s way to help treat and limit the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, a crisis can also bring out the worst in some people; fraudsters prey on fear and confusion.

The research shows that online fraud is on the increase too. Fraudsters are using the surge in online activity to target unsuspecting consumers. Online retailer sectors saw rising transaction volumes in March 2020 compared to the previous year, with 97% in Home products and furnishings, 136% in DIY products, 163% in garden essentials, and 26.6% in electronics.

Online Due Diligence Tips:

  • Change online passwords regularly and make them secure (don’t use standard information about yourself);
  • Don’t post personal info such as date of birth or mailing address on social media sites;
  • Have the most current firewall and anti-virus software on your computer;
  • Don’t send financial or any other type of personal information by email or text;
  • When purchasing online, make sure the site is secure. It should begin with HTTPS;
  • Don’t open links that appear in an email asking you to start a financial transaction. Go directly to the organisation’s website;
  • Don’t download software programs or apps from an unsecured source; and
  • Don’t use unsecured WiFi (such as in a coffee shop) if the device you are using has personal information on it.
Due Diligence 360

Don’t fall prey to unscrupulous business dealings and outside threats. At CRI Group, we specialise in Integrity Due Diligence, working as trusted partners to businesses and institutions worldwide. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates.

Our DueDiligence360™ expose vulnerabilities and threats that can cause serious damage to your organisation and can significantly reduce business. The world’s largest corporations trust CRI Group and consultancies – outsource your due diligence to an experienced provider, and you will only ever have to look forward, never back.

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301:2021 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Speak Up | Report Illegal, Unethical or Improper Behaviour

Ethics and Compliance Hotline is an anonymous reporting mechanism that facilitates reporting of possible illegal, unethical, or improper conduct when the normal channels of communication have proven ineffective or are impractical under the circumstances. At CRI Group, we are committed to having an open dialogue on ethical dilemmas regardless. We want to introduce a new Ethics & Compliance Hotline. This hotline is available to all employees and clients, contractors, vendors, and others in a business relationship with CRI Group and ABAC Group.

If you find yourself in an ethical dilemma or suspect inappropriate or illegal conduct, and you feel uncomfortable reporting through normal channels of communication, or wish to raise the issue anonymously, use CRI Group’s Compliance Hotline in below mentioned ways or provide us with your complaint online on the form below. The Compliance Hotline is a secure and confidential reporting channel managed by an independent provider. When reporting a concern in good faith, you will be protected by CRI Group’s Non-Retaliation Policy.

What Can You Report?

Feel free to report any known or suspected noncompliant behaviour or violations with any regulatory mandates and/or local policies, including but not limited to:

  • Ethical standards Violations

  • Violation of laws and Company Policy and internal control

  • Risk and Safety

  • Theft, embezzlement or misappropriate of assets and fraud

  • Bribery and corruption

  • Employee Rights, Employee Relation, Work Environment

  • Privacy laws or security of personal information

  • Discrimination

  • The dispute related to Supervisor, H.R. and other Departments

  • Physical and Verbal Harassment on Workplace

  • Issues related to job responsibilities

  • The report related to a suspicious activity being a witness

  • Unfair dismissals

Our Compliance Hotline is accessible by both phone and online. If you make a report directly by telephone, you will speak with the Compliance Department directly. If you submit a report online, the system will guide you through the reporting process, and a PIN generated automatically once you complete the report.

Q&A on how corporate fraud and corruption affect businesses in the UAE 2021

CRI Group and its ABAC® Center of Excellence were featured in Financier Worldwide’s InDepth Feature: Corporate fraud and corruption 2021. In this edition, CRI Group’s CEO Zafar Anjum and ABAC®’s Scheme Manager Huma Khalid talk about how corporate fraud and corruption affect businesses not only in the UK and UAE, but across the globe, and provide solutions and insights for businesses to become better protected from corporate fraud, bribery and corruption.

Q. To what extent have you seen a notable rise in the level of corporate fraud, bribery and corruption uncovered in the UAE?

A. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) remains the least corrupt country in the Middle East and North Africa region. It was perhaps fitting that the United Nations (UN) held its anti-corruption conference in the UAE just over a year ago. At the conference, delegates drafted anti-corruption resolutions and discussed asset recovery, international cooperation, and other topics in preparation for an upcoming special session of the UN General Assembly against corruption. Of course, there is still much work to be done. Fraud, bribery and money laundering are still problems in the UAE that require a united focus to overcome. Of special concern is the real estate sector, which some have called a haven for stashing and laundering cash. In some cases, these funds are linked to terrorist financing, raising the alarm beyond just the balance sheet for typical financial or corporate fraud.

Q. Have there been any legal and regulatory changes implemented in the UAE designed to combat fraud and corruption? What penalties do companies face for failure to comply?

A. The recent Anti-Commercial Fraud Law in the UAE strengthened rules around counterfeiting and intellectual property (IP) theft, among other areas. In addition, lawmakers and regulators are applying an anti-fraud focus to other laws. A perfect example is the UAE’s Insolvency Law 2020. The Ministry of Finance announced that penalties will be imposed on those who fraudulently abuse the law. This could include making a fake claim or a sham debt against a debtor or illegally increasing a debt amount. Such offences are punishable by jail time and fines. An awareness campaign by the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), Abu Dhabi Police, and Dubai Police was the first such collaboration in the UAE and it comes as both corporate and consumer fraud have increased. Companies are expected to protect their stakeholders’ investments, and failure to do so can lead to regulatory and legal punishments.

Q. In your opinion, do regulators in the UAE have sufficient resources to enforce the law in this area? Are they making inroads?

A. There are at least two daunting tasks facing regulators in the UAE at present: detecting and preventing money laundering and stemming the growing threat of cyber crime. While these problems are not unique to the UAE, they do require significant investment and increased investigation and enforcement efforts. Recent reports allege that illicit funds flow through ‘free trade zones’ and into real estate deals, such as luxurious properties in Dubai and other locations. The laws are in place to punish such crimes, but more inroads will need to be made to bring this under control in a country that largely succeeds at fighting fraud in other areas. Cyber crime is also a constant challenge that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many fraudsters have sought to take advantage of companies having to transition to different employment models, such as remote working. Fraud fighters are working hard to stay ahead of the curve in this regard.

Q. If a company finds itself subject to a government investigation or dawn raid, how should it respond?

A. If a company finds itself under investigation, one of the first things it must do is mandate down the chain of command that employees cooperate fully with investigators. Any efforts to the contrary may be considered obstruction, and lead to more punishments or a higher likelihood of penalties at the end. In contrast, engaging in a good-faith effort to assist an investigation may weigh in the company’s favour.

Questions will arise, such as: Was this a surprise? What are the facts of the case? How did this occur? Legal counsel must be engaged immediately, but it is also important to speak with compliance officers, risk management, executives and the board in a transparent way to help the company move forward. Communicate a zero-tolerance policy toward fraud, and if employees are proven to have engaged in such behaviour, they should be terminated and prosecuted.

Q. What role are whistleblowers playing in the fight against corporate fraud and corruption? How important is it to train staff to identify and report potentially fraudulent activity?

A. Some business leaders falsely believe that audits, account reconciliation and other procedures offer the best protection against fraud. They are important functions, but they are not the most effective detection method. Fraud is often uncovered by tips, according to the ACFE’s Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse. Employees are truly the front line of defence for companies, and the first to throw up warning flags about unethical behaviour. The question is whether companies listen to their employees. And is there an easy, anonymous way for employees to submit tips, without fear of retaliation? Companies should educate employees about the red flags of fraud, and then make sure they know they can and should report it.

Q. What advice can you offer to companies on conducting an internal investigation to follow up on suspicions of fraud or corruption?

A. If the company does not have an experienced team of anti-fraud professionals on staff, it is crucial to enlist the help of an outside firm with experts who specialise in this area. There are mistakes companies make at the beginning of an investigation that can haunt them later. For example, most countries, including the UAE, have laws that govern the proper collecting and handling of evidence. With most evidence in a digital format, following the right protocols is more important than ever. There are also important guidelines for interviewing witnesses and those suspected of fraud which, when disregarded, could lead to a failed investigation. The bottom line is: do not go it alone – get expert professional help. And if criminal conduct is discovered, contact the authorities.

Q. What general steps can companies take to proactively prevent corruption and fraud within their organisation?

A. Preventing and detecting fraud starts with a company’s employees, so training and communication are key. First, employees must be trained on what constitutes fraud, bribery and corruption, how to recognise it, and how to report it. Second, the company must communicate that fraud will not be tolerated on any level, and those who commit fraud will be terminated and prosecuted if they are found to have broken the law. Companies should also have anti-corruption and anti-fraud controls in place, including an employee code of conduct, regular and surprise audits, and a fraud reporting system available to employees, contractors and even customers. Achieving certification in internationally recognised standards, such as ISO 37001 ABMS, is a good practice too. When it comes to fraud and corruption, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being proactive is truly the only practical option for protecting the business and its assets.

 

Meet Zafar ZAFAR ANJUM, Group Chief Executive Officer

Zafar Anjum is founder and group CEO at CRI Group, and its ABAC Center of Excellence. He uses his extensive knowledge and expertise in creating stable and secure networks across challenging global markets. For organisations needing large project management, security, safeguard and real-time compliance applications, Mr Anjum is the assurance expert of choice for industry professionals.

Corporate Research and Investigations | t: +44 (0)7588 454 959 | e: zanjum@crigroup.com

Meet HUMA KHALID,  Scheme Manager

Huma Khalid, as scheme manager, is responsible for leading ABAC. Ms Khalid’s responsibilities include planning and overseeing all aspects of the ABAC programme, which include certification and training. Additionally, she oversees the compliance department for the implementation, management and internal audit of CRI Group’s and ABAC compliance programmes

ABAC Center of Excellence Limited | t: +44 (0)777 652 4355 | e: huma.k@abacgroup.com

About CRI Group

CRI GROUP works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international risk management, employee background screening, business intelligence, due diligence, compliance solutions and other professional investigative research solutions provider. CRI Group has the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Its global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, the company has the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. For more on our Risk Management solutions just check out our brochure:

View Risk Management Solutions Brochure

Other contacts:

RAZA SHAH Business Development and Marketing Executive | t: +92 300 501 2632 | e: raza.shah@crigroup.com
AYESHA SYED Lead Auditor | t: +971 4 358 9884 | e: ayesha.s@abacgroup.com

Corporate Fraud and Corruption: affect on UK businesses in the 2021

CRI Group and its ABAC® Center of Excellence were featured in Financier Worldwide’s InDepth Feature: Corporate fraud and corruption 2021. In this edition, CRI Group’s CEO Zafar Anjum and ABAC®’s Scheme Manager Huma Khalid talk about how corporate fraud and corruption affect businesses not only in the UK and UAE, but across the globe, and provide solutions and insights for businesses to become better protected from corporate fraud, bribery and corruption.

Q. To what extent have you seen a notable rise in the level of corporate fraud, bribery and corruption uncovered in the UK?

A. The COVID-19 pandemic has created increased opportunities for fraud worldwide. The UK is not immune, unfortunately, and such a disruptive event as the pandemic increases the likelihood that normal safeguards and risk management controls can be bypassed and subverted. There has been an increase in reported fraud and corruption cases over the past year. A survey of fraud experts by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in August 2020 showed that 77 percent were seeing an increase in fraud. Perhaps not surprisingly, cyber fraud is the fastest-growing problem area, but there has also been an uptick in unemployment fraud. This is bad news in the UK, where fraud is our most common crime, costing the country £190bn annually, according to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Q. Have there been any legal and regulatory changes implemented in the UK designed to combat fraud and corruption? What penalties do companies face for failure to comply?

A. There is proposed legislation, supported by the secretary of state of the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, that would increase accountability for corporations that produce falsified financial statements. This includes a provision that would require company directors to personally sign off on their corporation’s financial statements, under penalty of fines and possible prison time. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US, the penalty for falsely certifying such statements is steep: up to 20 years in prison and up to $5m in fines, and the UK is looking at similar measures to step up its fight against fraud and corruption. The UK also recently approved the formation of an audit, reporting and governance authority (ARGA) that should come into force within the next two or three years. Accordingly, the UK is taking a stronger stance against fraud going forward.

Q. In your opinion, do regulators in the UK have sufficient resources to enforce the law in this area? Are they making inroads?

A. Combatting fraud is never straightforward. When looking at progress in detecting and preventing fraud, it sometimes feels like a question of whether the glass is half full or half empty. For example, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) brought 13 fraud defendants to trial in 2019 and 2020, with a 95 percent fouryear success rate by case. Many of these represent large frauds, and they are meaningful wins, but how many more fraudsters are out there undiscovered? Other bodies, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), among others, also have key roles to play in investigating fraud, but a considerable amount of fraud is still investigated and prosecuted at the local level. It is important for leaders in the UK to know what resources law enforcement have and where they need training and support in the fight against fraud.

Q. If a company finds itself subject to a government investigation or dawn raid, how should it respond?

A. Any investigation, and especially a raid, can be an incredibly stressful time for a company and its employees. The important thing is to not panic – the investigators have a job to do, and the sooner they get to the truth of the situation, the better for everyone. Companies should direct their management and their employees to cooperate fully, while also engaging legal counsel to properly protect the corporation from future litigation. If fraud is detected, it is a criminal matter and the company should make a good faith effort to work with prosecutors and regulators, while making sure to document all control measures and prior steps taken to manage fraud risk. Having a track record of meeting compliance requirements and having proper internal controls in place at the time fraud occurs could have a mitigating effect in terms of potential prosecution and penalties down the road.

Q. What role are whistleblowers playing in the fight against corporate fraud and corruption? How important is it to train staff to identify and report potentially fraudulent activity?

A. Employees are a company’s first line of defence against fraud and corruption. But training them to recognise the red flags of fraud is only half of the process. The company must also implement a reporting system that is anonymous and easy to use, so that employees are encouraged to report any suspicions. Then, the company must follow through and fully investigate any reports that do come in. If it does not, whistleblowers will believe that combatting fraud and corruption is not a corporate priority, and the tips will stop coming in. How important are those tips? According to the ACFE, they are by far the highest detection method for fraud, well above audits and other means. The company should communicate that a whistleblower hotline or online reporting system is available, and that there is a zero-tolerance policy for any type of retaliation against whistleblowers. Over time, the tips will come in.

Q. What advice can you offer to companies on conducting an internal investigation to follow up on suspicions of fraud or corruption?

A. Investigations can be challenging, and they require expertise. For example, there are rules for collecting and handling evidence, including physical evidence and witness statements, that must be followed for such evidence to be admissible in court. There are also laws in the UK dealing with privacy and the rights of the accused. The bottom line is that a company already dealing with a potentially costly and damaging fraud scenario should not risk adding more legal trouble through a faulty investigation. Hire experts who deal with corporate crime and specialise in fraud and corruption cases. Like any other area of expertise, they will have the knowledge and resources to help proceed with an investigation and lead it to the most favourable outcome for your company. If you already have anti-fraud professionals on staff, let them take the lead, but provide outside resources as needed.

Q. What general steps can companies take to proactively prevent corruption and fraud within their organisation?

A. A fraud prevention strategy has many different elements, and the sooner companies implement them, the sooner they can begin to work together in a proactive way to prevent fraud. Mandating employee training, such as ISO 37001 ABMS, having an ethical code of conduct signed by every member of staff, providing regular and surprise audits, and implementing a fraud reporting system are all effective ways to help prevent and detect fraud and corruption. None of these methods is strong enough on its own to properly protect organisations. But together, they can be very effective. It is also important to set a ‘tone at the top’, from ownership, directors and management on down, that fraud will not be tolerated. Anti-fraud controls only work if the company sees them through and thoroughly investigates every report. When fraud is confirmed, any perpetrators should be terminated and potentially prosecuted, sending a message of zerotolerance.

 

Meet Zafar ZAFAR ANJUM, Group Chief Executive Officer

Zafar Anjum is founder and group CEO at CRI Group, and its ABAC Center of Excellence. He uses his extensive knowledge and expertise in creating stable and secure networks across challenging global markets. For organisations needing large project management, security, safeguard and real-time compliance applications, Mr Anjum is the assurance expert of choice for industry professionals.

Corporate Research and Investigations | t: +44 (0)7588 454 959 | e: zanjum@crigroup.com

Meet HUMA KHALID,  Scheme Manager

Huma Khalid, as scheme manager, is responsible for leading ABAC. Ms Khalid’s responsibilities include planning and overseeing all aspects of the ABAC programme, which include certification and training. Additionally, she oversees the compliance department for the implementation, management and internal audit of CRI Group’s and ABAC compliance programmes

ABAC Center of Excellence Limited | t: +44 (0)777 652 4355 | e: huma.k@abacgroup.com

About CRI Group

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI Group launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 37301:2021 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organisations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

Other contacts:

RAZA SHAH Business Development and Marketing Executive | t: +92 300 501 2632 | e: raza.shah@crigroup.com
AYESHA SYED Lead Auditor | t: +971 4 358 9884 | e: ayesha.s@abacgroup.com