Tackling corporate fraud in the Middle East

Tackling corporate fraud in the middle east has become even more challenging during the pandemic. ICAEW Insights sat down with our founder and chief executive, Zafar Anjum, to discuss the rising levels of corporate fraud in the middle east during the pandemic.

Find out how CRI is using AI to investigate wrongdoing; from fake degrees and doctored CVs to false insurance claims and bogus bills, our corporate fraud investigators in the Middle East have seen it all. Zafar told ICAEW his firm was busier than ever as the pandemic triggered a rise in white-collar crime cases across the region.

From its base in London, CRI has been helping firms in middle east regions like Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. Regions where anti-fraud frameworks are still being built out inside the embryonic corporate regulatory regimes that govern the Middle East.

“We’ve seen a lot of insurance fraud claim investigations, fake bills, fake debts and fraudulent certificates designed to cheat insurance companies,” Zafar said. “Covid allowed internal controls to be relaxed; people are working from home, so the usual check and balances are missing.”

Nascent regulatory regime

Last year, PwC research found corporate fraud was on the rise across the region, with nearly half of all local companies reporting at least one occurrence in 12 months. Zafar said the lack of counter-corruption model legislation such as the UK Bribery Act 2010 often meant policing the business areas such as the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) fell to private companies as the regulator doesn’t have the resources to cover the scale of the problem. 

“In the Middle East, the issues relating to fraud and corruption are of concern because there isn’t the legislation when compared to developed countries. The definition of fraud and fraudulent activities are different across the Middle East,” he said. 

The DIFC was established in 2004 to create a safe and constant upward regulatory environment for companies to do business. One of its aims was to attract investment from London and Wall Street firms and other corporates from both continents. A regulator was created to monitor the market, and the set-up was replicated for the Abu Dhabi and Qatar financial business districts. 

The economic “free zones” have relied on firms themselves to help shape the regulatory framework, Zafar said, which has created a mixture of frameworks as standards are broadly aligned with the UK or US markets.

“It’s not national-level legislation, which carries its own problems. There have been scandals, and a lot of that centres on fraudulent financial statements, investment scams,” Zafar said. “A prevalent problem is vendor/third-party screening and false claims, especially during the bidding process. Some firms exaggerate their capabilities and are not able to deliver.”

Investor scams on the rise

A big part of CRI’s work is analysing financial statements, checking backgrounds, and working with compliance teams to root out bad actors. Zafar said investors scams were also on the rise across the UAE; because the country is ripe for development, some fraudsters had found it easy to prey on foreign victims who are drawn to the opportunities but unwilling to carry out proper due diligence. 

The UAE’s family offices are a driving force of industry, and the name carries significant weight regarding deals. “It’s very risky to invest without carrying out the proper checks, and unfortunately, a lot of people come in blind,” Zafar said.

“Fake property claims are rife. It can be individuals who are targeted or small groups of foreign investors. One case involved a handful of US investors who wanted to invest in some economic and humanitarian projects. They wanted to create jobs, other activities, but fell in with people who weren’t with the families they claim to be a part of.”

Family names are often taken by scammers and used to convince investors to part with their cash fairly frequently, Zafar said. Because many people don’t care about due diligence, it can end up costing millions of dollars,” he said. “It’s so hard to recover the money, to catch the fraudster. If the victims don’t have local consultants or experts, it can be hard to trace back and recover the damages.”

An investor group puts its trust — and its funds — in the hands of an outside business partner without considering a due diligence check on the individual.

Eighteen months into the partnership, the individual has succeeded in fleecing the group of more than $6 million and is still at large. Investigators such as CRI are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to help with screening. Zafar said great strides had been made in tackling corruption and bribery.

Public and private investigation partnerships

Databases of politically exposed individuals, or persons with links to crime, on watchlists or have criminal activity linked to their name or accounts are rapidly being populated for use by regulators and private investigators. 

“We’re trying to prove that there is a role for AI in detecting crime and that it can be a part of the investigative process. Machines will scan publicly available databases, criminal cases and the like, and we can check if firms have been blacklisted by authorities such as the Asian Development Bank, IMF or World Bank, which is really helpful.”

In the past, these checks would have to be carried out by hand, one by one. “It’s hard, almost impossible! Name matches are probably the largest problem in the Middle East.

You cannot find a person with the first name Mohammad or last name Khan; you’ll get billions of matches, so we need to develop a database that builds on this with other information. There isn’t a nationwide electoral database in any Middle East region, so you can see how much work still has to be done.”

Credit history, employment checks and previous addresses are a handful of ways the files can be built out, Zafar said, and his team is working on ways to streamline that process. There was no concept of background screening in 2008 when Zafar’s team started, and despite having come a long way, he said they still encounter fraud on a massive scale. However, they still encounter fraud on a huge scale, he said. 

Alarming numbers

“Sometimes applicants try to falsely fill the gap in their CV, which is dangerous because we don’t know if they’ve spent time in jail,” he said. “More common red flags are fake degrees and fake previous employment references. We found one in 20 applications for a job had fake degrees, experience letters, or fake references in some regions. It’s a huge number, and some of the universities were prestigious too, which makes it quite alarming.”

Another big area of focus is auditing gifts and donations passed through a company concerning projects carried out. His team works with companies to ensure their anti-bribery controls are as robust as possible, given the tough penalties on offer. 

“It’s a criminal liability for a company, and the directors will be liable if they don’t have the proper anti-bribery procedures in place,” Zadar said. “Accounts and financial teams are critical to making sure firms have proper internal controls.”

CRI is also on a mission to stamp out “box-ticking” compliance, which has traditionally been a problem across the Middle East due to the nascent regulatory framework. “If you’re conducting audits, nothing will happen if this is the way; you’ll never spot the problem,” he said. “The role of accountants, whether internal or external, to shape the controls and make sure they are implemented effectively.”

He said bribery through sales commissions, waste for public service, sexual extortion or sextortion as a form of corruption could be rife in some sectors. It was up to companies to ensure money wasn’t being paid outside official channels to staff. 

“We understand it’s a process for some firms who are not used to doing it this way, but we’re here to help,” he said. “Companies need to establish their compliance documentation and make sure it’s up to the standard. The most important areas are due diligence and anti-bribery policies. This should not be a paper-based box-ticking exercise, it has to be implemented, and every employee must know the company believes in zero-tolerance of corruption.” 

Visit ICAEW’s Fraud hub for related articles and case studies, or to see the original article, click here

Meet our CEO

Zafar I. Anjum is Group Chief Executive Officer (t: +44 207 8681415 | m: +44 7588 454959 | e: zanjum@crigroup.com) of CRI Group, a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, business due diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading business organisations.

Headquartered in London and licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre-DIFC, the Qatar Financial Center-QFC, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-ADGM, CRI Group safeguards businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business.

CRI Group maintains offices in UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, China, the USA, and the United Kingdom. Contact CRI Group to learn more about its 3PRM-Certified™ third-party risk management strategy program and discover an effective and proactive approach to mitigating the risks associated with corruption, bribery, financial crimes and other dangerous risks posed by third-party partnerships.

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 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 the 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. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training

 

Celebrate International Charity Fraud Awareness Week with Fraud Advisory Panel

Fraud Advisory Panel has kick started International Charity Fraud Awareness Week. Join Fraud Advisory Panel in raising awareness of fraud risks and counter-fraud best practice with the charity and not-for-profits sectors. Now – more than ever – charities need to be fraud aware and take steps to protect their money, people and assets from harm.

Get involved

Join the global effort to minimise the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education. It is important to raise awareness and share good practice in tackling fraud and cybercrime. Fraud continues to hamper organisations around the globe, and the problems will only worsen, unless we all come together in a collective effort to mitigate risk.  SIGN UP TO SUPPORT

> Corporate fraud and corruption is growing in United Kingdom (UK). In a devastating article, Oliver Bullough proved that UK is quickly becoming the money-laundering capital of the world. Read more about the situation in UK now!

Newly published whitepapers examine corruption laws and fraud

Fraud and corruption are always evolving. Changes in methods, technology and other factors make it critically important those trying to prevent and detect it to evolve, as well. Part of that process is to analyse fraud, corruption, bribery, money laundering and other crimes through the lense of research and casework. When experts share their findings and their knowledge into the numerous laws and regulations that address fraud, everyone benefits – especially vulnerable businesses and other organisations. CRI Group has recently published three new whitepapers that provide insightful looks into issues at the forefront of fraud and corruption today. They range from deep dives into the U.S., U.K. and other anti-fraud and anti-corruption laws around the world, to close examinations of actual fraud cases that hold lessons for all of us. We invite you to download these whitepapers and increase your knowledge of fraud, corruption, proper compliance, risk assessments, due diligence and more.

1. “The Catalysts for Economic Crime: An Investigative Study Into Causal Factors of the Perpetration of Transnational Financial Crimes”

This whitepaper provides an in-depth study of transnational financial crimes and the national laws and regulations that govern them. Laws in the U.S. and the U.K, in particular, are compared and examined in terms of effectiveness in preventing financial crimes.

The comparative study focuses on corporate fraud. “The Catalysts for Economic Crime” pursues the question as to how weaknesses in national laws can be considered “a core causal factor in the perpetration of transnational financial crimes.” Readers will learn about the need to strengthen such laws or risk continued and increased criminal activity.

Different types of financial crimes are examined, including money laundering, due to its prominence as a form of transnational financial crime. The research provides a detailed discussion of the inadequacies in current national laws, and proposes solutions through increased accountability, compliance-focused on self-governance and heightened monitoring for violations, among other important considerations.

Download the whitepaper for free.

2. “Countering Bribery & Corruption in the Public & Private Sectors: Anti-Corruption Culture, Risk Assessment, Auditing & Compliance”

This publication provides an insightful look at the responsibility of corporations to monitor and mitigate risks. This whitepaper examines two high profile corruption cases, Airbus and Rolls-Royce, to provide a deeper understanding of how bribery and other financial crimes can take root at organisations without proper prevention procedures and inadequate controls.

The global nature of the enterprise that makes corruption even more prevalent in modern times also makes prevention more difficult. When it comes to putting procedures in place to prevent bribery and corruption, “the concept of ‘adequate procedures’ is “vulnerable to interpretation depending upon national or industrial jurisdiction … and many enforcement agencies and government authorities have failed to provide guidance regarding the definition of ‘adequate procedures’ as it shapes both Anti-Corruption guidelines and legal defence.

Case studies often provide an extremely effective way of demonstrating the effect of inadequate controls and procedures when it comes to corruption. In the cases of Airbus and Rolls-Royce, the financial crimes and their ramifications were significant. Airbus committed to financial penalties of $4 billion; a system of “intermediary leverage” involved hundreds of its agents in 16 countries “to encourage national and airline purchase of the company’s civilian aircraft and satellites.” In the case of Rolls-Royce, a four-year investigation uncovered corruption, false accounting and failure to prevent bribery, leading to fines in excess of ?497.2 million – which accounted for approximately 3.4% of Rolls-Royce’s revenues for 2016. Find out what can be learned from these cases and how proper controls could have prevented them.

> Download the whitepaper for free.

3. “Organised Catastrophe of Pakistan International Airlines: Major Critical Risk Elements – Mismanagement – Corruption”

This whitepaper provides another case study, this one a close examination of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which has been embroiled in a scandal. The cases of professional fraud involve fake degrees and fraudulent licenses, and there have been cases of air accidents with loss of lives. This white paper investigates how the PIA case is not a coincidence, but rather an “organised failure of institutional management, state, and internal controls.”

In fact, the PIA investigation comes at a time when fraud and corruption among state-owned enterprises in Pakistan and elsewhere is rising at an alarming rate. This has links to fraud in governmental institutions, and PIA is just a high-profile example of what can result when such corruption goes unchecked.

This whitepaper analyses two major risk elements at PIA, in terms of mismanagement, and corruption in the form of kickbacks. This research paper also proposes solutions for dealing with such systemic, organizational crimes, the foundation of which is to implement a business-based risk management framework.

Download the whitepaper for free.

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 19600:2014 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 any illegal, unethical, or improper behaviour

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. 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.

Q&A session with our CEO: United Arab Emirates fighting Fraud and corruption

Middle east corruption is a threat to the world. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a land of complex extremes where fabulous wealth and supercars live right next to staggering poverty. This is generally a recipe for fraud and corruption. However UAE has been talking the right steps towards a fraud free future. This Financier Worldwide Q&A session with our CEO discusses United Arab Emirates role in fighting fraud and corruption. Read the answers to the following questions:

  • To what extent have you seen a notable rise in the level f corporate fraud, bribery and corruption uncovered in United Arab Emirates in recent years?
  • Have there been any legal and regulatory changes implemented in United Arab emirates  designed to combat fraud and corruption? What penalties do companies face for failure comply?
  • Do regulators in United Arab Emirates have sufficient resources to enforce the law in this area? Are they making inroads in this area?
  • If a company finds itself subject to a government investigation or dawn raid, how should it respond?
  • and much more…

Q. To what extent have you seen a notable rise in the level of corporate fraud, bribery and corruption uncovered in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in recent years?

ANJUM: Some recent, high profile cases have affected companies and countries in the Middle East. Embraer’s bribery scandal, involving sales of its aircraft, included officials in Saudi Arabia, among others. Further, there have been suspicions of corruption surrounding the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar, suspicious which have been worsened by allegations of human rights abuses involving migrant workers. In general, however, it is still issues like data theft, e-commerce fraud, information security and other high tech threats that pose serious risks to organisations in the Middle East. We live in an increasingly connected world, so while anti-fraud laws and controls in one country may be robust, a company might find itself doing business abroad in a location where laws and enforcement are more lax, and risk is heightened.

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

ANJUM: the UAE has a strong reputation for being tough on corruption, and a new law enhances this stance. The recently approved, and highly anticipated, Anti-Commercial Fraud Law will strengthen protections of intellectual property rights (IPR) and will impose stricter penalties anon counterfeiters. For example, a fraud offence related to counterfeiting could now result in up to 2 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to Dh1m. Overall, corruption is still a low risk for companies operating in the UAE. Laws against corruption are enforced, and they cover bribery, facilitation payments, embezzlement and other types of fraud and abuse. However, when concerning the Middle East as a whole, there are indications that fraud and corruption are the rise, which means we must be ever vigilant in protecting investments throughout the region.

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

ANJUM: When considering the Middle East region, there can be no ignoring war-ravaged areas like Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. It is an understatement to say that countries embroiled in conflicts and crisis usually do not have the resources or manpower to properly prevent and detect fraud. But according to Transparency international’s most recent  Corruption Perceptions Index, a few of the other more stable and affluent countries in the region are experiencing some difficulty preventing fraud, as well. Different factors can contribute to these struggles, be they politics, autocratic leadership, weak laws or judiciary bodies. However, the UAE still ranks as the least corrupt country in the Middle East, and other countries might take heed of the country’s Anti-Commercial Fraud Law and other existing laws, not to mention the UAE’s enforcement measures, as a possible model for future efforts.

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

ANJUM: A company that finds itself in such as crisis should immediately cooperate with authorities and work quickly to gather the facts. What are the allegations? What is the scope of the investigation? Was the raid expected, or has the company been taken completely by surprise? In the early stages, it is crucial that the company engages in a good-faith effort to be transparent and cooperative. Of course, retaining legal counsel, is a must at this an every stage of an investigation, If an employee or employees have engaged in fraud, the company should support the fact-finding process and let justice run its course. Company leaders should also evaluate their internal controls and ensure that additional fraud or corruption is not occurring under the radar.

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

ANJUM: The statistics on fraud, such as in the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud & Abuse show that fraud is most often uncovered by tips, more so than audits, surveillance, account reconciliation, document examination and other methods. Accordingly, a company’s own employees are their first line of defence against fraud. But to encourage whistle blowing, two critical measures need to be in place. First, employee should be trained to identify the red flags of fraud, and to know what does, and what does not, constitute fraudulent behaviour. Second, a reporting mechanism should be in place; an anonymous system by which whistle-blowers can submit their tips without fear of retaliation or negative consequences.

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

ANJUM: In any situation where fraud is suspected, it is crucial that experts be brought in as quickly as possible to help unravel the facts of the case, if the company does not have anti-fraud professional among its staff, It is critical to remember that there are various laws, depending on your country or region, which govern the rules of gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Any evidence that is mishandled or collected improperly can negatively impact an investigation and hurt the chances of a resolution. If an investigation is bungled from the start, it is nearly impossible to then ‘wind it back’ and correct mistakes later. Also, if criminal behaviour is suspected, legal authorities should be quickly notified and provided with the company’s findings and reasons for the allegation.

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

ANJUM: Every organisation, large or small, should have a plan in place for preventing and detecting fraud. The first step is to communicate the organisation’s zero-tolerance stance against fraud. An ethical code of conduct, signed by every employee, can be effective in this regard. A fraud risk assessment should be conducted to find vulnerabilities. The company’s hiring policy should include pre- and post-employment background screening. Job responsibilities should include segregation of duties, so that no single employee has too much control over finances or assets. The company should conduct audits and encourage whistle-blowing with an anonymous reporting system. With a comprehensive fraud prevention system in place, business owners can sleep a little easier, knowing that their organisation has reduced risk and increased their ability to prevent and detect fraud.

Speak up – report any illegal, unethical, or improper behaviour

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. 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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_section][accordion_father][accordion_son title=”About CRI Group” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]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 19600:2014 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.[/accordion_son][accordion_son title=”Meet our CEO” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]Zafar I. Anjum, is Group Chief Executive Officer of CRI Group (www.crigroup.com), a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, business due diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading business organisations.  Headquartered in London (with significant presence throughout the region) and licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre-DIFC, the Qatar Financial Center-QFC, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-ADGM, CRI Group safeguards businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business. CRI Group maintains offices in UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, China, USA, and the United Kingdom.

Contact CRI Group to learn more about its 3PRM-Certified™ third-party risk management strategy program and discover an effective and proactive approach to mitigating the risks associated with corruption, bribery, financial crimes and other dangerous risks posed by third-party partnerships.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Zafar Anjum, MSc, MS, CFE, CII, MICA, Int. Dip. (Fin. Crime) | CRI Group Chief Executive Officer

37th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AA United Kingdom

t: +44 207 8681415 | m: +44 7588 454959 | e: zanjum@crigroup.com[/accordion_son][accordion_son title=”Sources & Credits” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]This Q&A article is based on a 2017 Financier Worldwide interview.

Since 2001, Financier Worldwide has provided valuable information on corporate finance and board-level business issues through its monthly magazine and exclusive website content. As a leading publisher of news and analysis on this dynamic global market, the organisation is recognised as a valued source of intelligence to the corporate, investment and advisory community. More from Financier Worldwide:

Download 2018 annual reviews by Mr. Zafar Anjum, CEO, and Ms. Fatima Farrukh, Compliance professional at CRI Group.

  • Click here to download the review of UAE (Mr. Zafar Anjum, CEO at CRI Group)
  • Click here to download the review of UK (Mr. Zafar Anjum, CEO at CRI Group)
  • Click here to download the review of Pakistan (Ms. Fatima Farrukh, 2018 Compliance professional at CRI Group)

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COVID-19 Prompted Innovative Leadership

As of 3 September 2021, COVID-19 has affected more than million people globally, including 218,580,734 deaths, reported to WHO. The virus has also had severe economic implications, leaving organisations facing a unique set of new challenges that can only be summed up in one word: uncertainty. And the only way to navigate these uncertain times is through effective leadership. Good leaders can deliver on their mission in innovative ways while envisioning a new “normal”. This is critical right now, as COVID-19 has magnified not only societal vulnerabilities but vulnerabilities in business, as well.

Navigating the complexities of the unforeseen COVID-19 crisis has left many businesses struggling. Crisis often fuels innovation, however, and most organisations are stepping up with unique contributions and excellent leadership at a time when it is needed most. Leaders at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic – epidemiologists, data and behavioural scientists, academics, engineers, military logisticians and businesses – are collaborating (probably for the first time) to solve seemingly intractable problems.

These leaders are driving innovation with therapeutic, economic, and community-based solutions that are having a significant impact on the global pandemic. From the creation of multi-million global relief funds to shepherding vaccine development and treatments; from payment deferrals for people and businesses facing financial hardships to digital/telehealth solutions such as Beneficial Business Exchange (a self-service virtual community that matches urgent needs with critical resources); from solving supply chain challenges to creating innovative new products; leaders are adapting and making decisions to help their organisations weather the storm and survive the crisis.

For example, with ventilators in short supply (a critical need during the pandemic), Mercedes stepped up by collaborating with the University College London and clinicians at University College London Hospital to develop the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilator. In South Korea, health authorities, vice-Health Minister Kim Gang-lip, businesses and students joined forces at an early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. With their combined technological expertise and creative thinking skills, they produced a drive-through COVID-19 test; a body steriliser that sprays people as they enter halls; and a health tracker app for overseas visitors. These and other innovative solutions have shown how collaboration between leaders is beneficial.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven technological innovation. With more people working from home, internet and online services have been stretched to the limit. Behind strong leaders at Apple, Google, Amazon and other leading tech giants, companies have responded to fill needs in this new online framework. Web meetings, online shopping and other technological aspects driven by COVID-19 have forced quick adaptation and innovation to meet consumers’ needs and, in some cases, keep the economy going.

The reality is that leaders who push innovation during this crisis are setting their organisations up for better success once the crisis has passed. In fact, history suggests that companies that invest in innovation through a crisis outperform peers during the recovery. This finding came to light during the SARS outbreak and the 2009 financial crisis, among others. Statistics show that companies that maintained a focus on innovation during the 2009 crisis subsequently outperformed the market average by over 30 percent after the crisis resolved. This demonstrated a far-sighted approach with significant benefits beyond just a company’s survival.

Leaders and CEOs have creatively solved problems and inspired others by taking action and making decisions that might typically take months to emerge from the typical treacle of bureaucracy. However, good innovative leadership will continue to emerge, transform and discover new ways to tackle COVID-19 challenges. Resilient leaders can see a crisis as an opportunity to elevate and define their corporate culture; resilient leaders can find clarity by testing every decision against touchstones. Their companies, and the communities and people they serve, are counting on them.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter now!

Sign up for risk management, compliance, corporate and background investigations, business intelligence and due diligence related news, solutions, events and publications.

Who is CRI® Group?

Based in London, CR® 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® launched Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems, ISO 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.

7 Traits of a Resilient Leader

Every successful leader has encountered a challenging scenario at some point in their career. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, however, has forced leaders to face unforeseen new challenges. With the pandemic’s colossal impact on operations, workforces, profits and supply chains across the globe, all eyes are on leadership to guide their businesses through this crisis. Resilient Leader

Resilient leaders are generally seen as more effective, making them an asset to any business; but what is resilience and how can it be applied to your management skills?

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; it is a further evolution of stress management. This makes it a “no brainer” as to why resilience is such a popular concept in today’s business environment. Many businesses are pushing the concept of resilience as a way of helping workers better cope with the stresses and strains of the modern-day office and unlock their performance potential.

In this article, we look at seven essential qualities that characterise resilient leaders, and how to increase your resilience. In general, resilient leaders:

  1. Show empathy
  2. Are adaptable and able to improvise
  3. Are self-aware and open to feedback
  4. Take calculated risks
  5. Keep a positive attitude
  6. Develop others
  7. Communicate effectively

1. Resilient Leaders Show Empathy

COVID-19 has generated one of the greatest challenges and, simultaneously, one of the greatest opportunities for resilient leaders – at all levels. According to a Gallup U.S poll, six in 10 people are “very” or “somewhat worried” that they or a family member will be exposed to COVID-19 (Gallup, 2020). During this crisis, emotional management is even more crucial than ever. According to studies carried out by Development Dimensions International (DDI), empathy is the most critical leadership skill. Leaders who display compassion, authenticity and vulnerability – and are capable of apologising when they’re wrong and handle criticism without blame – create strong emotional bonds with their teams (DDI, 2020).

The most resilient (and effective) leaders can demonstrate empathy and a high level of emotional intelligence. When your team feels understood, they feel more motivated and more confident to contribute cultivating stronger conversations, ideas and debate. As Mark Cuban shared in a recent interview: “How you treat your employees today will have more impact on your brand in future years than any amount of advertising, any amount of anything you literally could do” (Just Capital, 2020).

2. Resilient Leaders Are Adaptable

With COVID-19 infecting approximately 311,641 people in the UK alone, health officials suggested using hand sanitiser as the easiest way to prevent the spread of the disease. Consequently, these announcements led to panic buying (Euronews, 2020). In this type of situation, a resilient leader should be able to visualise this action as an opportunity – for example, dozens of spirit manufacturers across the UK started to produce hand sanitisers (i.e. BrewDog and Leith Gin). This is a classic example of an instant attitude adjustment – looking at what they can do as opposed to what they can’t (Telegraph, 2020).

When faced with change, resilient leaders can focus on the things within their business that they can still control. Whether impacted by new technologies, environmental challenges or even ethical dilemmas, the modern business landscape is always changing. A resilient leader needs to be flexible and adaptable to succeed. Is flexibility part of your leadership style?

3. Resilient Leaders Are Self-Aware and Coachable

According to Health Care Business Today, self-awareness and coachability are “The Two Most Important Leadership Traits” (Health Care Business Today, 2019). We think so, too. Resilient leaders are self-aware, confident, and most of all, able to recognise their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Resilient leaders are open to feedback, ask for feedback and are always demonstrating a real effort to improve.

4. Resilient Leaders Take Calculated Risks

Successful leaders earned their success through taking calculated risks. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launched AmazonFresh, he was scrutinised by others because he didn’t choose a successful delivery or supermarket executive to run the venture. Instead, Bezos selected a team that had previously run a web-based food delivery service in the ‘90s (which collapsed after two years in business). Why? Bezos knew that the team had learned from their failure, which made them the perfect choice to succeed with a new project.

Resilient leaders like Bezos take calculated risks while accepting that failure is a by-product of innovation and success. They learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and flourish as the world changes around them.

5. Resilient Leaders Can Keep a Positive Mindset

The impact of COVID-19 is tough to manage. It is vital to have a positive mindset that can influence fellow professionals and raise team morale while maintaining business momentum.

Under the challenging circumstances posed by the COVID-19 crisis, a resilient leader needs to be enthusiastic, offer praise for success, and give credit when it’s due. American psychologist Carol Dweck has stated in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” that “a change of mindset must happen before other positive transformation can occur.”

Resiliency is needed when we encounter failure. As a resilient leader, you shouldn’t view failure as final, but as a necessary step to move further along your journey.

6. Resilient Leaders Develop Others

The most resilient leaders are concerned about the development of their teams. Developing others helps everyone to learn from their mistakes. We continue to find that leaders who want and accept honest feedback for themselves are more likely to give productive feedback and coaching to others.

7. Resilient Leaders Communicate Effectively

Effective communication helps teams understand changes, expectations and new directions. This understanding is the key to the success of any team. The most resilient and best leaders always communicate their intentions effectively to others and are willing to help their teams understand a new strategy or direction.

The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be the ultimate test for business leadership. In times of crisis, only certain individuals can adapt and stand tall amongst the crowd. When it comes to leaders, being able to implement resilience tools and strategies will not only make you a better leader but help the company overall.

 

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 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.

Stop gender based violence: incorporate risk assessment into your due diligence process

Gender-based violence is constantly on the rise – research by the UN Women, “The economic costs of violence against women” suggests that the cost of violence against women is 2% of global GDP, equivalent to US$1.5 trillion – incorporating gender-based violence into risk and mitigation analyses is a must. The company and country-level economic costs of violence include losses in productivity and increases in health and legal costs according to UN Women, “Ending violence against women

Gender-based violence is known to increase in emergency situations, and the global COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency across the globe. During this global pandemic with long-lasting effects, the rising rates of violence are impacting every country and sector. Incorporating an analysis of gender-based violence can help to mitigate the risks of a future that looks very different than it did even three months ago.

UNICEF has launched Covid-19 Diligence Tool Criterion. This tool equips investors to understand the risk their investments are exposed to as a result of gender-based violence and to incorporate that risk assessment into due diligence process.

Due diligence is a standard process that all investors undertake when deciding whether and how to invest in a company. This tool is designed to align with standard diligence processes for direct private investments. It also offers recommendations and tools that investors can use to mitigate the risks of violence. The risk assessment is also relevant to public investors at the sector and market levels.

Covid-19 Diligence Tool Criterion highlights the areas of focus in due diligence to determine a company’s exposure to risks created by gender-based violence in the company. This tool provides you with company-level due diligence questions that can help you mitigate any risk:

  • Is the company leadership, including the board, aware of potential regulatory changes?
  • Have any policies been reviewed or changed in response to the pandemic?
  • How has the company responded during the crisis? Have disaster mitigations been measured, effective, and gender-balanced?

This tool is one component of a broader global effort to ensure the right to live free of violence and toward greater gender equality. Download the report now.

The mere process of asking questions about gender-based violence creates impact, and could result in improved practices and business.

Staying one step ahead of any critical risk to your organisation is part of being an effective business leader. Contact us today to get started on implementing a robust program that will serve you well for years to come. Get your FREE QUOTE now!

 

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 Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence 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 19600:2014 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.[/vc_column_text][accordion_father][accordion_son title=”About CRI Group” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]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 Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 19600:2014 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.[/accordion_son][/accordion_father][/vc_column][/vc_row]

COVID-19: Top risk management concerns

A global crisis calls for a fresh due-diligence and risk management review of your company’s third-party partnerships

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has disrupted life in just about every sense of the word, from personal health concerns and social distancing to shelter-in-place mandates and business closures. But in the corporate world, life plods on. Critical concerns about ongoing sales and revenue, keeping personnel employed, safety issues inside the workplace, and uncertainty about the future are making business leaders lose a lot of sleep these days.

An added element that global organisations should genuinely be concerned about is the ongoing viability of the supply chain. The pandemic is affecting different parts of the world at varying levels, so it’s vitally important to be continually vigilant in how the crisis is affecting your third-party suppliers, and how those supply chain partners are behaving and maintaining legitimacy in these uncertain times.

The healthcare industry is on the front line of the global supply chain battle, as it feverishly addresses an unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment. The shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) has forced many organisations – out of sheer desperation – to seek and purchase supplies from just about any outside source that can produce what’s needed. This panic buying has led to unscrupulous manufacturers who are producing and flooding the market with sub-standard products that, aside from being grossly overpriced, are putting an untold number of lives in peril. Further, the global demand for PPE has fostered rising occurrences of bad actors who see lucrative opportunities for bribery, tax evasion and money laundering in the midst of crisis and confusion.

The pandemic has thrown many other industries into complete disarray as well, which will naturally open the doors for opportunists to do what’s necessary to take advantage of the situation. And if your organisation happens to be affiliated with these bad actors, the long-term effects can be potentially devastating, affecting the organisation’s reputation, and resulting in untrusting customers, lost business, loss of market value, a decrease in share price, litigation, and any number of regulatory penalties.

Crisis Situations Require Enhanced Due Diligence

A Third-Party Risk Management Program is not a passive process. It requires time and effort continually, and, as we’ve witnessed during the present global crisis, the risks associated with Third-Party partnerships are continually evolving. Those outside risks can be found on many operational levels, from a supplier’s present working conditions and the protection of customer data to safeguarding the company’s intellectual property and suspicious changes in pricing and payment terms, among others. Here are several items to consider in re-evaluating the company’s relationship with Third-Party partners during this critical period:

  • Essential Workers – Is the company observing the latest guidance related to safety practices for that personnel still working on the production lines? Is the company providing PPE protection and following social distancing on the factory floor?
  • Remote Workers – Is the supplier’s staff working from home now? How do you know those staff members, working on your behalf, are behaving correctly and completing their work? Who is overseeing the production of at-home workers?
  • Customer Data – If staff is working remotely, how are they accessing vital company data? Is the at-home network protected? Can it be accessed and infiltrated by unaffiliated outside parties?
  • Information Sharing – Has the supplier addressed the protection of intellectual property concerning at-home workers? Are the various corporate (and at-home) communication channels safeguarded, including email accounts, online chats, direct messaging, video conferencing and phone calls?
  • Product Quality – Can the supplier still provide proof of product viability, including compliance with safety, quality, labelling and other standards?
  • Production, Component and Logistical Costs – Has the supplier altered its various costs in response to the crisis? Has it provided acceptable reasons for the changes? Are these additional costs verified and justified?
  • Relationships with Agents – Are the agents that assist in your global supply chain maintaining business integrity during the crisis? Are there unreasonable changes to pricing, terms and delivery dates?
  • Regulatory Compliance – Is the supplier complying with local, regional and national mandates recently enacted as a result of the pandemic?

Remember, your organisation is only as safe as the least protected component of your Third-Party supplier network. It’s vital to ensure adequate protection against the rising number of risks associated with the recent worldwide crisis.

The Need for Leadership in These Challenging Times

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are most undoubtedly desperate times. An organisation where leadership, management and workforce do not take the third-party risk seriously will eventually suffer the consequences brought on by lack of action. And to those organisations that do practice effective risk management: passive engagement in times of crisis is simply not enough.

The key to effective risk management during these times is proactivity. Asking difficult questions now can save you from answering accusatory questions later. Questions company management might immediately consider include:

  1. Are our suppliers equipped to protect our sensitive information against today’s risks?
  2. How sophisticated are our cloud and social media security?
  3. Are our suppliers capable of adapting to regulatory compliance changes?
  4. Are proper redundancies in place to ensure our information is protected against disaster?
  5. Will we be prepared if one of our suppliers unexpectedly shuts down a line or closes their doors?
  6. Do we have the adequate tools to vet new or replacement suppliers properly?
  7. Who owns the risk management process internally? What additional resources do they need to succeed in the current situation?
  8. Do we have a set methodology for addressing incidents involving our suppliers?
  9. Do we maintain an accurate and complete interactive inventory of our suppliers?
  10. Can we identify warning signs with suppliers?
  11. Do we have a well-communicated reporting process?

The coronavirus pandemic has created crisis and uncertainty on levels that we’ve never experienced. And crises are breeding grounds for bad actors who see opportunity in the midst of uncertainty. Ongoing due diligence of third-party partners in times of crisis is vital to safeguard the long-term interests of the organisation and protect it from an increasing number of outside risks.

Let’s Talk!

If you have any further questions or interest in implementing compliance solutions, please contact us.

CRI Group has safeguarded businesses from any risks, providing investigations (i.e. insurance fraud), employee background screening, investigative due diligence, business intelligencethird-party risk management, forensic accounting, compliance and other professional investigative research services. 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 19600:2014 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. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zafar I. Anjum is Group Chief Executive Officer of CRI Group, a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, business due diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading business organizations. Headquartered in London (with a significant presence throughout the region) and licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre-DIFC, the Qatar Financial Center-QFC, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-ADGM, CRI Group safeguards businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business. CRI Group maintains offices in UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, China, USA, and the United Kingdom.

t: +44 207 8681415 | m: +44 7588 454959 |e: zanjum@crigroup.com

Happy holidays!

On behalf of CRI Group and our ABAC® Center of Excellence, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season! Thank you for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to working with you in the years to come.

Even with the world under partial lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been no shortage of bribery and corruption cases. We invite you to join us in the fight against fraud. Help us by answering questions about what actions you take when fighting bribery in your organisation and operating regions. Participate in our short survey and get the chance to win:

  • Gap Assessment for your organisation (worth USD 4500); or
  • ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) Introductory course (worth USD 175).

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May the New Year be healthy and prosperous to you, your business and people! Stay safe, stay well!

Best wishes,
CRI Group family[/vc_column_text][accordion_father][accordion_son title=”About CRI Group” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]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 Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 19600:2014 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.[/accordion_son][accordion_son title=”Speak up – report any illegal, unethical, or improper behaviour!” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]

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. 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. COMPLIANCE HOTLINE

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Have you read…

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Importance of leadership and culture for ABMS

There are many reasons why companies engage in corrupt practices; to win contracts, to speed up service delivery, to gain or retain political influence and so on. Nevertheless, all corrupt practices, in the end, are about gaining more money and more power. When justice is served the opposite happens. Share prices plunge, and leaders lose their power. Top 10 Bribery & Corruption Stories of 2020 (so far) or even last year’s Top 10 Bribery and Corruption 2019 Cases

Case Study: Samsung and laundering horses

Samsung Group’s third-generation leader, Jay Y. Lee has been accused of bribing Choi Soon-sil, a friend of former President Park Geun-Hye. Following Lee Kun-hee’s (Jay Y. Lee’s father), heart attack in 2014 it has been calculated that Jay Y. Lee would need to pay $6 billion in tax bills to be able to inherit his father’s shares and maintain control of Samsung. The company’s leaders have a standing history of tax aviation but up to now, the white-collar crimes have been pardoned by Park Geun-Hye and other South Korean’s Presidents. The easier option was to pay a bribe to orchestrate the merger of two divisions: Samsung C&T Corp., which is dedicated to construction and trading, and Cheil Industries Inc., which owned several entertainment properties. Upon completion, the merger would have given the Lee family more power over the entire Samsung Group.

Now that the plan was looking very promising, Jay Y. Lee used a living bribe to execute it. “The form of the alleged bribe was Vitana V, an $800,000 thoroughbred show horse, plus $17 million in donations to foundations affiliated with the friend, whose daughter was hoping to qualify for the 2020 Olympics as an equestrienne.” (Bloomberg, 2017).

Following the investigation, the situation took a significant downturn and Jay Y. Lee was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Chung Sun-sup, Chief Executive of research firm Chaebul.com said “The five-year sentence was low given that he was found guilty of all the charges. I think the court gave him a lighter sentence, taking into account Samsung’s importance to the economy.” It is, however, one of the longest given to South Korean business leaders. As for stock prices, they fell more than 1% the day after Jay Y. Lee was arrested and then a similar amount after the verdict. Samsung Group’s profit was not hurt but South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, has pledged to rein in the chaebols, empower minority shareholders and end the practice of pardoning tycoons convicted of a white-collar crime.

Case Study: Rolls-Royce and the $35 million in bribes

Another example of a company where corruption could equal to company culture is (or was – more on that later) Rolls-Royce plc. Between 2000 and 2013, the company conspired to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying more than $35 million in bribes through the third party to foreign officials to secure contracts. The Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that in Thailand, Rolls admitted to using intermediaries to pay approximately $11 million in bribes to officials at Thai state-owned and state-controlled oil and gas companies that awarded 7 contracts to Rolls-Royce during the same period. The way business was conducted in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Angola, and Iraq did not differ. The corrupt practices were spread globally.

An event that coincides with the above is the appointment of Sir John Rose as Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce (1996 – 2011). In 2003 and before the company’s criminal activities came to the light, Rose was knighted. After the engineering giant admitted in a deal with US prosecutor that it had made corrupt payments, Labour is calling for Rose to lose his knighthood. Sir John Rose insists that he did not know of the corrupt practices. Let’s say that is the truth, did he not fail as a leader simply because of that?

> Learn more about the Rolls-Royce case study including how a full risk assessment would have mitigated the risk of corruption. Read more HERE or just DOWNLOAD NOW your FREE “Ethics, compliance & Rolls-Royce: Lessons Learned”

As a result of the scandal in 2016 Rolls-Royce has suffered the biggest financial loss in its history. Other factors include Brexit and drop of pound value, but the £671 charge for the penalties the company paid to settle bribery and corruption charges with Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the DOJ, and Brazilian authorities left a hole is Rolls’ accounts. Since then the company has a new management, and if their praised cooperation with SFO is an indication of the company’s culture shift, Rolls should not be in the news due to corruption scandals.

The answer to avoid failed leadership

Failed leadership is the obvious reason for the above bribery cases. ISO 37001:2016 Clause 5 Leadership outlines what is required from the top management in order be obtain ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System Certification. Information in ISO 37001:2016 standard is divided by verbal forms use; unsurprisingly shall indicate a requirement, should a recommendation, may a permission and can a possibility or capacity. Leadership is crucial for an anti-bribery management system to be effective and all points under Clause 5 Leadership are ‘shall’ requirements.

As illustrated in the standard: “For a compliance management system to be effective the governing body and top management need to lead by example, by adhering to and actively supporting compliance and the compliance management system.” Management has a number of other responsibilities which are outlined in the standard. There are responsibilities which are more obvious than others such as “ensuring that the anti-bribery management system, including policy and objectives, is established, implemented, maintained and reviewed to adequately address the organisation’s bribery risk” (5.1.2. a) and “deploying an accurate and appropriate resources for the effective operation of the anti-bribery management system” (5.1.2. c). There are also requirements which are not so obvious but just as important; “promoting an appropriate anti-bribery culture within the organisation” (5.1.2. h) and “promoting continual improvement” (5.1.2. i). These requirements highlight that obtaining ISO 37001:2016 certification is not just a box ticking exercise (contrary to what critics like to say). In order to obtain the certificate, a company needs to illustrate that compliance to anti-bribery is integrated within their business model and crucially, their culture. In practical terms that means that the tone at the top needs to align with ABMS and the message needs to be understood from the boardroom to the factory floor.

Leadership is one of the core seven elements of ISO 37001:2016. The remaining elements; the context of the organisation, planning, support, operation, performance evaluation and lastly improvement, will be discussed in the future. Watch this space.

ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification is offered under CRI Group’s ABAC® Centre of Excellence, an independent certification body established for Anti-Bribery Management System training and certification, Compliance Management System and Risk Management System certification. The program will be tailored to your organisation’s needs and requirements. For assistance in developing and implementing a fraud prevention strategy, contact ABAC today or get a FREE QUOTE now!

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 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.[/vc_column_text][accordion_father caption_url=””][accordion_son title=”Take a Gap Analysis of Highest Ethical Business (FREE)” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]

  1. We Welcome You To Have Free Gap Analysis of Highest Ethical Business Survey: prove that your business is ethical. Complete our FREE Highest Ethical Business Assessment (HEBA) and evaluate your current Corporate Compliance Program.TAKE THE GAP ANALYSIS NOW!

    Find out if your organisation’s compliance program is in the line with worldwide Compliance, Business Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Frameworks. Let ABAC® experts prepare a complimentary gap analysis of your compliance program to evaluate if it meets “adequate procedures” requirements under UK Bribery Act, DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs Guidance and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

    The HEBA survey is designed to evaluate your compliance with the adequate procedures to prevent bribery and corruption across the organisation. This survey is monitored and evaluated by qualified ABAC® professionals with Business Ethics, Legal and Compliance background. The questions are open-ended to encourage a qualitative analysis of your Compliance Program and to facilitate the gap analysis process.

    TAKE THE GAP ANALYSIS NOW!

    The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete. ABAC® is powered by CRI Group – this GAP analysis will be performed by ABAC®

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  1. Bloomberg (2017) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-07-27/summer-of-samsung-a-corruption-scandal-a-political-firestorm-and-a-record-profit
  2. Chaebul (2016) http://chaebul.com/chaebul/eng/engnews/eng_news_list.jsp?section=0000000106
  3. Financial Times (2017) https://www.ft.com/content/1b62c007-e846-3feb-b23f-2eae5f180fd7
  4. Reuters (2017) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-samsung-lee/samsung-leader-jay-y-lee-given-five-year-jail-sentence-for-bribery-idUSKCN1B41VC
  5. Web archive (2016) https://web.archive.org/web/20091224225422/http://www.rolls-royce.com/about/who_are/management/board/rose.jsp
  6. US Department of Justice (2017) https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/rolls-royce-plc-agrees-pay-170-million-criminal-penalty-resolve-foreign-corrupt-practices-act

[/accordion_son][accordion_son title=”About CRI Group” clr=”#ffffff” bgclr=”#1e73be”]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 Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 19600:2014 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.

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Corruption won’t stop: is your organisation protected?

In one case, an enforcement agent for a Malaysian government department pleaded guilty for receiving a bribe from a business owner. In another, a U.S. district attorney from Philadelphia was accused of taking cash in return for helping people with their legal cases. He was accused of 28 counts of bribery, and in the end was given a deal to plead guilty on one count. Both cases show how easy it is for organisations to fall victim to bribery and corruption.Businesses, non-profits, government organisations both face a risk to their financial well-being and reputation.

In Malaysia, the case centred around an employee of the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry. According to the article “Domestic Trade enforcement staff fined RM1,200 for bribery” published in the New Straits Times, Muhammad Mat Sa’ad, 36, was charged with taking bribes from a fuel storage owner in 2014. His case was prosecuted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

In the U.S., Philadelphia’s top law enforcement officer, District Attorney R. Seth Williams, pleaded guilty to bribery in a more sweeping case with some very troubling details. According to the New York Times article “Philadelphia District Attorney Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Resigns,” Williams allegedly accepted bribes from business people in return for offers of legal help with their cases or those of their friends. But he may have also defrauded his own mother.

The article states:

“Mr. Williams accepted gifts including a trip to the Dominican Republic and checks for thousands of dollars from people who wanted favours, prosecutors said. According to an indictment by the United States attorney’s office for New Jersey, he promised one of the business people that he would “look into” a case that had been brought against a friend of that person.

He also faced charges including wire fraud and extortion for his alleged personal use of political action committee funds and government vehicles. Among the most damaging charges against Mr. Williams was that he defrauded a nursing home and family friends of money that was designated for the care of his mother.”

He faces a up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

These types of troubling cases can likely be prevented with the right training, internal controls, and certification. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System standard to help companies worldwide increase and measure their efforts against bribery and corruption.

CRI Group is registered as a foremost ISO 37001:2016 Certification Body with the Dubai Accreditation Center (DAC) Government of Dubai, UAE, and has formally launched its ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems certification program. ISO 37001:2016 certifies that your organisation has implemented reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent bribery. These measures involve top-level leadership, training, bribery risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and commercial controls, reporting, audit and investigation.

Through CRI Group’s 3PRM-Certified™, the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System Certification will help your company, organisation or department to reduce risk of bribery and corruption by establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving your management system. The certification empowers you with the ability to safeguard and maintain the integrity of your company by:

  • Guaranteeing that all workers and agents are devoted to the latest anti-bribery practice.
  • Regularly validating compliance to appropriate legislation like the FCPA and UK Bribery Act 2010.
  • Jointly cooperating with stakeholders to observe and reduce the risks throughout your supply chain.
  • Externally scrutinising your company, testing the effectiveness of your anti-bribery policies and processes.
  • Creating “Compliance in Action.”

ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification is offered under CRI Group’s ABAC® Centre of Excellence, an independent certification body established for Anti-Bribery Management System training and certification, Compliance Management System and Risk Management System certification. The program will be tailored to your organisation’s needs and requirements. For assistance in developing and implementing a fraud prevention strategy, contact ABAC today or get a FREE QUOTE now!

 

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 Management, Employee Background Screening, Business IntelligenceDue Diligence 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 19600:2014 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.