Economic Crime Act 2024: Impact on Your Business

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) marks a pivotal moment in the fight against financial crime, bolstering the UK’s commitment to transparency and accountability. Expanding upon the groundwork established by the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (ECA), the ECCTA introduces substantial reforms and, in certain cases, revises existing provisions.


This wide-ranging legislation tackles various dimensions of economic crime and corporate transparency, solidifying the UK’s stance as a global leader in combating illicit financial activities. While some provisions are already in effect, others await secondary legislation before full implementation. This article outlines the key features of the ECCTA update, paving the way for a more detailed exploration of its individual aspects.


The Simple Guide to ECCTA Compliance (Even Your CFO Will Understand)

On March 1, 2024, the  UK Government’s Crime, Justice, and Law Department published comprehensive factsheets outlining the key reforms introduced by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023.


Reformed Corporate Criminal Liability Laws

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) introduces significant reforms to corporate criminal liability laws for economic crimes, making it possible for corporations to be held accountable independently. This enhancement fortifies the framework for applying corporate liability to modern enterprises, especially those with intricate and expansive structures. It acts as a deterrent against senior managers exploiting their positions within the corporation to engage in economic crimes, ensuring they are accountable for their actions.


Modernizing the Identification Doctrine

The ECCTA advances the identification doctrine by codifying it specifically for economic crimes. This provides explicit guidelines for attributing the actions and intentions of senior managers to the corporation. This modernization addresses the complexities of decision-making within large organizations, where authority is often spread across various senior managers. By bringing clarity to the identification process, the reform ensures that individuals with substantial managerial influence are encompassed within corporate liability, thereby promoting accountability at higher organizational levels.


Clarifying the Role of Senior Managers

Under the ECCTA, the definition of “senior manager” from the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is adopted, emphasizing responsibilities and roles rather than mere job titles. This redefinition ensures that individuals who have significant decision-making power and managerial influence within an organization are accountable for economic crimes. The reform targets those who play pivotal roles in the strategic and operational aspects of the business, ensuring their actions are scrutinized and held to account.


Leveling the Playing Field for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

The ECCTA addresses the previous disparity in prosecuting smaller versus larger companies. Previously, smaller businesses, with easily identifiable decision-makers, were more susceptible to prosecution compared to larger firms with dispersed decision-making processes. This reform seeks to rectify this imbalance by ensuring that senior managers in large corporations, who wield significant decision-making power, can also be held liable. This adjustment aims to create a fairer legal landscape where businesses of all sizes are equally accountable under the law.


How These Reforms May Affect Businesses?

These reforms under the ECCTA signify a major shift in the landscape of corporate liability for economic crimes, directly impacting how businesses operate. Companies will now need to ensure robust internal controls and clear accountability structures, as the law will hold them liable for the economic crimes committed by their senior managers. 

Molly Ross at Audley Chaucer highlights that “the increased disclosure requirements could be burdensome for companies, particularly small businesses.” This sentiment is echoed by others who worry about the potential administrative and financial strain on smaller entities.


Some critics, as mentioned in the Audley Chaucer article, raise concerns about the possibility of government overreach in investigations and the risk of hindering legitimate business operations due to the heightened scrutiny under the ECCTA.


Therefore, businesses must adapt to these updated regulations by revising their governance practices to prevent and detect economic crimes effectively. This shift emphasizes the need for thorough compliance programs and proactive risk management strategies to mitigate the risk of corporate liability and ensure adherence to the new legal standards.


Real Stories of Businesses That Failed to Comply

While the ECCTA is new, it builds upon earlier anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) regulations. Here are a couple of notable cases where businesses faced consequences for failing to comply with similar regulations:


  • Standard Chartered Bank:  In 2019, Standard Chartered Bank was fined $1.1 billion by US and UK regulators for failing to comply with AML regulations. This included weaknesses in their due diligence processes and failure to report suspicious transactions. This case highlights the severe financial penalties that can be imposed for non-compliance.


  • NatWest: In 2021, NatWest pleaded guilty to failing to prevent money laundering after a customer deposited large sums of cash, including £365 million. The bank was fined £264 million, a record penalty at the time. This case emphasizes the potential for criminal liability and reputational damage that can result from non-compliance.


Potential Consequences Under the ECCTA

While these cases involved previous regulations, they illustrate the serious consequences that businesses can face for failing to comply with AML and CTF laws. The ECCTA strengthens these regulations, introducing even more stringent requirements and penalties. Under the ECCTA, businesses that fail to comply could face:


  • Significant financial penalties: Fines can be imposed on both the company and individuals involved.
  • Criminal liability: In some cases, individuals can face criminal charges and even imprisonment.
  • Reputational damage: Non-compliance can tarnish a company’s reputation and lead to a loss of customers and business opportunities.
  • Operational disruptions: Investigations and enforcement actions can disrupt business operations.


Minimize Risk & Maximize Protection with CRI™ Group

CRI™ Group understands the profound impact that the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) will have on businesses. This legislation introduces stringent requirements for corporate governance and accountability, particularly concerning economic crimes. To navigate these complexities, CRI™ Group offers a comprehensive suite of services designed to help your business minimize risk and maximize protection, ensuring full compliance with the new regulations.


Comprehensive Compliance Solutions

CRI™ Group offers tailored compliance solutions designed to meet the unique needs of each organization. Their services include compliance audits, regulatory advice, and the development of robust compliance programs that align with the latest legislative requirements. By implementing these solutions, businesses can ensure they adhere to the ECCTA and other relevant regulations, thereby minimizing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties​.


Due Diligence and Risk Management

Conducting thorough due diligence is vital for identifying and mitigating risks associated with new business relationships, mergers, and acquisitions. CRI™ Group’s due diligence services expose vulnerabilities and threats that could harm the organization, ensuring that decision-makers have all the necessary information to make informed choices​.


Investigative Services

CRI™ Group’s investigative services are designed to uncover and address various forms of corporate fraud, including accounting fraud, asset misappropriation, and internal corruption. Their team of experts can conduct detailed investigations to ensure that any incidents of fraud or misconduct are identified and dealt with promptly, protecting the business from financial and reputational damage​.


Forensic Accounting

For businesses facing complex financial fraud, CRI™ Group’s forensic accounting services provide the expertise needed to uncover discrepancies and present evidence suitable for legal proceedings. Their forensic accountants are trained to handle cases that require detailed financial investigations, ensuring that all findings meet courtroom standards.


Corporate Security and Resilience

In today’s interconnected global marketplace, corporate security and resilience are paramount. CRI™ Group helps businesses develop and implement controls to protect digital and physical assets, manage supply chain risks, and prepare for potential crises. This proactive approach ensures that companies can respond swiftly and effectively to any threats, maintaining business continuity and protecting stakeholder interests​.


By leveraging CRI™ Group’s extensive experience and comprehensive services, businesses can not only comply with the new requirements of the ECCTA but also strengthen their overall risk management and corporate governance frameworks. This proactive stance minimizes risk and maximizes protection, ensuring long-term stability and success in a complex regulatory environment.


For more information about CRI Group™ and our services, please visit our website at


Navigating the Changes: ISO 37001:2016/Amd 1:2024 Explained

In today’s business landscape, where integrity, sustainability, and compliance are paramount, ISO 37001:2016 stands out as a crucial standard for promoting anti-bribery management systems. Positioned at the heart of ethics and due diligence, this standard transcends compliance; it embodies a commitment to fostering transparency and accountability in the fight against corruption. With environmental responsibility becoming increasingly vital, the upcoming Amendment 1:2024 is particularly relevant. This amendment aims to align the standard with the urgent need for climate action, risk management, and carbon footprint reduction, emphasising the role of businesses in fostering a more ethical and sustainable world.

This article explores the specifics of ISO 37001:2016 and its forthcoming amendment, explaining why this standard and its update are essential for modern business strategies that prioritise sustainability and integrity. We’ll break down Amendment 1 to show how it addresses climate action changes and highlights the growing importance of environmental considerations in corporate governance. Additionally, we’ll offer strategic implementation tips for organisations looking to adopt the updated standards, emphasising the role of due diligence, ethics, and compliance in mitigating risks and promoting a sustainable business model. By reading this, you’ll gain a roadmap for navigating the updated ISO 37001:2016/Amd 1:2024 landscape, marking a significant step toward integrating climate considerations into business ethics and integrity.

Understanding ISO 37001 and Its Importance

What is ISO 37001?

ISO 37001, introduced by the International Organisation for Standardisation in October 2016, is a comprehensive anti-bribery management system (ABMS) standard. It outlines a series of policies and procedures to help organisations prevent, identify, and address bribery. This includes implementing an anti-bribery policy, appointing a compliance officer, conducting training, performing risk assessments, due diligence on projects and business associates, and instituting financial and commercial controls.

The Role of Anti-Bribery Management Systems

The significance of ISO 37001 extends beyond mere compliance. It represents a global effort to eliminate bribery and corruption, some of the most destructive challenges worldwide. By providing a universally recognised framework, ISO 37001 helps organisations cultivate a culture of integrity, transparency, and trust. This framework combats the turnover of over a trillion dollars of illicit funds annually and reinforces the credibility of institutions and businesses by ensuring fair operations free from bribery.

Global Adoption and Impact

The impact of ISO 37001 is evident in its adoption by various governments and leading corporations worldwide. For instance, the governments of Singapore and Peru have adopted this standard for their anti-bribery systems. Additionally, it has influenced the “Shenzhen Standard,” an official anti-bribery standard in Shenzhen, China. Companies like Microsoft and Walmart aim to obtain ISO 37001 certification, showcasing its broad influence and recognition as a crucial tool in fighting corruption. This widespread adoption highlights the standard’s versatility and applicability across different sectors and organisational sizes, making it a key instrument in promoting ethical business practices globally.

Unpacking Amendment 1: Climate Action Changes

Overview of Amendment 1: 2024

The ISO and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) have introduced amendments to 31 Annex SL management system standards, including ISO 37001:2016, to incorporate climate change considerations. Effective from February 2024, this initiative aims to align business operations with international climate agreements and emphasise the importance of climate change in organisational management systems.

Key Changes and Additions

Two significant changes are included in the ISO 37001:2016 amendment. First, organisations must assess whether climate change is relevant to their operations (Clause 4.1). Second, they must consider climate change-related requirements of interested parties (Clause 4.2). These additions underscore the need for sustainability clauses in contracts with cloud service providers and a broader commitment to reducing carbon footprints and addressing climate impacts.

Implications for Existing ISO 37001 Certifications

Organisations with ISO 37001 certifications must now integrate climate change considerations into their anti-bribery management systems. This involves reviewing internal and external issues, including climate change, and adjusting policies, procedures, and processes accordingly. The amendments require immediate implementation and will be assessed by auditors without a transition period. Failure to incorporate these changes could result in non-conformities during audits, stressing the importance of systematically considering climate change in organisational analyses and risk assessments.

Strategic Implementation of ISO 37001 Amendment 1

Preparing for the Transition

To navigate the transition to ISO 37001:2016/Amd 1:2024, organisations should review their current management systems to identify necessary adjustments in light of the new climate action changes. This includes assessing the relevance of climate change to their operations and integrating sustainability clauses into contracts with cloud service providers. The transition requires demonstrating conformance to the updated standards, ensuring climate change considerations are embedded in anti-bribery management systems.

Best Practices for Integrating Climate Action

Integrating climate action into anti-bribery management involves assessing internal and external issues related to climate change and adapting policies, procedures, and processes. Organisations should determine whether climate change is a relevant issue and integrate climate-related requirements into their management systems. This includes evaluating the impact of climate change on business context and considering the climate change-related requirements of interested parties. By doing so, organisations can enhance resilience and adaptability to climate-related risks.


The enhancements introduced by ISO 37001:2016/Amd 1:2024 not only reinforce the global commitment to anti-bribery management systems but also integrate climate action into corporate governance. Including climate considerations represents a progressive step toward aligning business operations with environmental goals, ensuring resilience and competitiveness in a changing global landscape. By prioritising sustainability and integrity, organisations can mitigate risks and contribute to a more ethical and sustainable world.

Navigating the complexities of these standards requires expert guidance. Engaging with seasoned professionals like CRI Group is essential for a smooth transition and certification process. Their expertise ensures that your organisation meets the updated ISO 37001:2016/Amd 1:2024 requirements and enhances overall performance and credibility. By fostering transparency, accountability, and environmental stewardship, businesses can comply with international standards and drive meaningful change.

CRI Group’s Services:

  • Comprehensive risk assessments
  • Anti-bribery policy formulation
  • Compliance officer training and appointment
  • Detailed due diligence on projects and business associates
  • Implementation of financial and commercial controls
  • Guidance on integrating climate change considerations into management systems
  • Audit support to ensure adherence to updated ISO 37001 standards

ABAC Group’s Services:

  • Training and certification for ISO 37001 compliance
  • Tailored risk management solutions
  • Anti-bribery and anti-corruption consulting
  • Investigative research services
  • Compliance and ethics program development
  • Third-party risk management
  • Whistleblowing hotline services
  • Due diligence and background checks

By leveraging these services, your organisation can achieve compliance and strengthen its commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices.

Significance of Due Diligence in Economic Crime & Corporate Transparency Act Compliance

The Importance of Due Diligence in Demonstrating Compliance with The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act

Corporate fraud in the UK has been a growing concern, with statistics reflecting the extent of the issue. According to a report, the financial cost of fraud to UK businesses was estimated at over £130 billion per year.  The scale of corporate fraud underlines the necessity for stringent measures like those introduced in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act. The Act’s provisions aim to curb these activities by enhancing the accountability and transparency of companies, thus creating a more challenging environment for perpetrators of corporate fraud. 

With the implementation of this legislation, due diligence becomes a critical tool for businesses to detect and prevent fraud, ensuring compliance with the new legal requirements and safeguarding the economic landscape of the UK.  In this article, we will explore the intricacies of the Act, highlight the pivotal role of due diligence in combatting corporate fraud, and outline essential measures that companies must adopt to align with the new legislative mandates, thereby safeguarding the UK’s economic integrity.



The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act was developed by the UK government in response to escalating concerns over economic crime, particularly fraud, money laundering, and corruption, which were increasingly undermining the integrity of the UK’s financial and corporate sectors. Prompted by a series of high-profile scandals and the growing sophistication of criminal activities exploiting the global financial system, the Act was formulated to address these challenges head-on.

It aimed to enhance transparency, strengthen the legal framework, and provide regulatory bodies with the necessary tools to combat these crimes effectively. Spearheaded by the Home Office and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the legislation reflects a concerted effort to safeguard the UK’s reputation as a fair and secure place for conducting business, ensuring that the country’s economic foundations remain robust against the backdrop of international financial crimes.


Key Provisions of The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act introduces several key provisions aimed at combating economic crime in the UK:

  • Identity Verification Requirements – Directors, PSCs, and those filing documents at Companies House will need to verify their identity, making it harder to make anonymous filings and improving the reliability of data provided by Companies House​​.

  • Serious Fraud Office (SFO) PowersThe Act reforms and extends the SFO’s pre-investigative powers, allowing it to compel information provision in suspected cases of fraud, bribery, or corruption. This extension applies to all potential SFO cases, enhancing the agency’s capabilities to tackle economic crimes.

  • Companies House Powers – New powers have been granted to Companies House to query and challenge potentially fraudulent or suspicious information on its register. The Act also mandates identity verification for people with significant control (PSCs) and others involved in company management, enhancing the integrity of the corporate register.

  • Register of Overseas Entities – The Act expands the scope of registrable beneficial owners and increases the information requirements for foreign entities owning UK land, addressing criticisms of previous legislation and aiming to prevent misuse of corporate structures for hiding illicit wealth.

  • Company Formation Changes – The Act mandates more stringent requirements for company formation, including full name disclosure of subscribers, lawful purpose declaration, and identity verification of proposed officers and PSCs. These measures aim to prevent misuse of corporate entities and enhance transparency​​.

  • Crypto-Related Enforcement – The Act enhances the powers of law enforcement agencies to deal with crypto-related criminal activities. It extends the confiscation and civil recovery regime to include cryptoassets, facilitating easier seizure, freezing, and recovery of assets linked to illicit activities.

These provisions reflect a comprehensive approach to enhancing corporate transparency, combating economic crime, and ensuring a fair business environment in the UK.


Penalties and Repercussions For Non-Compliance

The Act imposes stringent penalties and repercussions for non-compliance:

  • Legal and Financial Penalties – Companies and individuals failing to comply with the Act can face significant fines, legal penalties, and criminal charges.

  • Reputational DamageNon-compliance can also result in severe reputational damage, affecting the business operations and financial standing of the involved entities.

  • Increased Scrutiny and Regulation – Non-compliant companies may be subject to increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight, impacting their operational capabilities and market reputation.

These provisions collectively aim to create a more transparent and accountable corporate environment in the UK, reducing the risk of economic crimes and promoting fair business practices.


The Central Role of Due Diligence

Due diligence is a comprehensive assessment process used by businesses to evaluate the risks associated with potential partners, investments, or transactions. It involves gathering and analyzing detailed information about a business entity, its operations, financial performance, legal standing, and compliance with relevant regulations. Due diligence helps identify potential red flags or risks, such as financial discrepancies, legal issues, or reputational concerns, enabling companies to make informed decisions and mitigate risks.

In-depth investigations during the due diligence process are crucial for uncovering hidden risks that might not be apparent from surface-level analysis. For example, in the case of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal in 2015, due diligence processes that thoroughly investigated the company’s compliance with environmental regulations could have identified discrepancies in emission levels, potentially avoiding significant financial and reputational damage. This incident underscores the importance of rigorous due diligence in evaluating potential business partners’ and investments’ integrity and compliance, highlighting how thorough investigations can protect companies from unforeseen risks and liabilities.

Due diligence becomes even more pivotal in the context of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, as it mandates businesses to conduct thorough investigations into their corporate dealings to ensure compliance with enhanced transparency and anti-fraud measures. The Act requires companies to verify the identities of their directors and beneficial owners and to maintain accurate records of their financial transactions and corporate structures. Failure to conduct adequate due diligence could lead to non-compliance with the Act, exposing companies to legal and financial penalties, including fines, criminal charges, and reputational damage.

For instance, in the context of the Act, thorough due diligence would involve scrutinizing the backgrounds of potential partners or investment opportunities to ensure they do not have a history of involvement in economic crimes such as money laundering or fraud. Companies must now ensure that their due diligence processes are robust enough to detect any potential risks that could lead to non-compliance with the new legal requirements. This could include enhanced scrutiny of financial transactions, more rigorous background checks on corporate entities, and ongoing monitoring to ensure continued compliance. Therefore, due diligence is not just a tool for assessing business risks but also a critical compliance requirement under the Act, helping companies to navigate the complexities of the regulatory landscape and avoid the severe consequences of non-compliance.


Steps for Effective Due Diligence

To conduct effective due diligence, businesses can follow these steps as a guide:

  • Define Objectives and Scope – Clearly outline the purpose and goals of the due diligence process. Determine the specific areas of focus, such as financial health, legal compliance, market position, or operational efficiency, to tailor the investigation to the needs of the business transaction or partnership.

  • Collect InformationGather comprehensive data on the target entity. This includes financial statements, legal records, business plans, operational details, and information on key personnel. Public records, company filings, and market research can provide valuable insights.

  • Conduct Financial Analysis – Review the financial data of the target entity to assess its financial stability, profitability, and growth prospects. Analyze balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and financial projections to identify any financial risks or anomalies.

  • Evaluate Legal and Regulatory Compliance – Investigate the legal standing of the entity, including any past or ongoing legal disputes, compliance with industry regulations, and adherence to licensing requirements. This step is crucial to identify potential legal liabilities and regulatory risks.

  • Assess Operational Capabilities – Examine the operational aspects of the entity, including its business model, supply chain, production processes, and technology infrastructure. Understanding the operational strengths and weaknesses can reveal risks and opportunities.

  • Perform Risk Assessment – Identify and evaluate the risks associated with the investment or partnership. This includes financial risks, legal risks, market risks, operational risks, and reputational risks. Assessing these risks helps in making an informed decision.
  • Verify Information – Cross-check and verify the collected information through independent sources. This may include background checks, reference checks, site visits, and third-party audits to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data.

  • Prepare Due Diligence Report – Compile the findings into a detailed due diligence report. The report should provide a comprehensive analysis of the target entity, highlighting key findings, risks, opportunities, and recommendations for the business decision.

  • Make Informed Decisions – Use the insights gained from the due diligence process to make informed business decisions. The due diligence report should serve as a basis for negotiating terms, structuring the deal, or deciding whether to proceed with the transaction or partnership.
  • Monitor and Review – After completing the transaction or establishing the partnership, continue to monitor the entity’s performance and compliance. Regular reviews can help manage risks and ensure that the business arrangement’s objectives are being met.

By following these steps, businesses can conduct thorough due diligence, which is essential for mitigating risks, ensuring compliance with the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, and making informed decisions.


Demonstrating Compliance through Due Diligence

Demonstrating compliance through due diligence is a multi-faceted process that involves thorough documentation, third-party verification, external audits, and comprehensive employee training. Here’s how businesses can approach each aspect to ensure adherence to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act:


Documentation plays a crucial role in proving compliance with the Act. Businesses should maintain detailed records of their due diligence processes, including background checks, financial audits, risk assessments, and the decision-making process for transactions or partnerships. For example, if a company is investigating a potential investment, it should document each step of the due diligence process, including financial analyses, legal checks, and compliance reviews. This documentation is evidence of due diligence and helps proactively identify and mitigate risks.

Third-Party Verification and External Audits

Third-party verification and external audits provide an additional layer of assurance in the due diligence process. Companies can validate their compliance efforts with an unbiased perspective by involving independent entities to verify the accuracy of financial statements or the legitimacy of business operations. For instance, engaging a reputable audit firm to conduct an annual audit of the company’s financial transactions can uncover discrepancies that internal checks might miss and demonstrate to regulators that the company is serious about maintaining transparency and adhering to legal requirements.

Employee Training and Awareness Programs

Employee training and awareness programs are critical in ensuring that all staff members understand the importance of compliance and the specific requirements of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act. These programs should educate employees about the risks of economic crime, the importance of due diligence, and their roles in maintaining compliance. For instance, a financial services firm might conduct regular training sessions for its analysts and managers to update them on the latest regulatory changes, teach them how to spot signs of money laundering or fraud, and train them in conducting thorough due diligence on new clients or transactions.


Case Study: Successes and Failures

A notable example of a company that effectively used due diligence to demonstrate compliance is Rolls-Royce. In its dealings with corruption and bribery allegations, Rolls-Royce conducted extensive internal investigations and cooperated with authorities, leading to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in 2017. Their proactive approach in conducting thorough due diligence and compliance checks helped mitigate the legal consequences and demonstrated their commitment to rectifying the compliance failures.

Unilever has effectively used due diligence to ensure compliance with environmental and ethical standards in its supply chain. By conducting thorough investigations into their suppliers’ practices, Unilever has managed to uphold high standards of corporate responsibility and demonstrate compliance with UK’s stringent regulations on sustainability and ethical sourcing.


Lessons from Inadequate Due Diligence

  • The BHS Collapse – The downfall of British retailer BHS highlighted the consequences of inadequate due diligence. In 2015, BHS was sold for just £1 to a consortium with no retail experience and questionable financial stability. The lack of thorough due diligence in evaluating the buyer’s ability to manage BHS led to its collapse and the loss of 11,000 jobs. This case underscores the critical need for comprehensive due diligence in business transactions to avoid significant financial and reputational damage.

  • Tesco’s Overstatement Scandal  – In 2014, Tesco, one of the UK’s largest retailers, faced a serious financial scandal due to inadequate due diligence. The company overstated its profits by £129 million due to recognized income on deals before it was earned. The failure in due diligence to accurately audit and verify financial statements led to hefty fines and severe damage to Tesco’s reputation, highlighting the importance of thorough financial due diligence.

These examples emphasize that effective due diligence is crucial for demonstrating compliance and ensuring business integrity, while failures in conducting due diligence can lead to severe consequences, including financial loss, legal penalties, and reputational damage.


Recommendations for Companies

For companies looking to enhance their due diligence processes, here are some recommendations:

Invest in Due Diligence Tools and Software

Companies should invest in advanced tools and software that streamline the due diligence process. These technologies can automate data collection and analysis, track regulatory requirement changes, and provide real-time alerts on potential risks. For example, due diligence platforms like LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters offer comprehensive solutions for screening, monitoring, and analyzing business relationships and transactions.

Collaborate with Experts and Consultants

Engaging with experts and consultants who specialize in due diligence and compliance can provide companies with specialized insights and guidance. These professionals have the expertise to conduct in-depth investigations, interpret complex legal requirements, and provide tailored advice on risk management strategies. Consulting firms like CRI Group™ offer specialized services in due diligence and compliance, leveraging their global networks and expertise to assist companies in navigating the complexities of regulatory environments.

Foster a Culture of Integrity and Transparency

Building a culture of integrity and transparency within the organization is crucial. This involves establishing clear ethical guidelines, promoting open communication, and encouraging employees to report potential issues without fear of retaliation. Companies should conduct regular training sessions to educate employees on legal requirements, ethical standards, and the importance of due diligence in mitigating risks. Creating an environment where ethical behavior is valued and rewarded can help prevent compliance issues and reinforce the company’s reputation as a trustworthy and responsible business entity.

By implementing these recommendations, companies can strengthen their due diligence processes, ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, and protect themselves against the risks of financial crime and legal violations.



The evolving economic crime landscape underscores businesses’ need to remain vigilant and proactive in their due diligence efforts. As economic crimes become more sophisticated and far-reaching, particularly in the digital realm, companies must adapt to these changes with comprehensive due diligence practices. This vigilance is not merely about compliance with laws like the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act but also about safeguarding the business from potential financial and reputational damage. Proactive due diligence allows businesses to stay ahead of potential threats, ensuring long-term stability and integrity in an increasingly complex and interconnected global market.

Moreover, the long-term benefits of proactive due diligence extend beyond mere compliance. They encompass the fostering of a culture of transparency and ethical business practices, which can significantly enhance a company’s reputation and trustworthiness in the eyes of stakeholders, including customers, partners, and investors. In the long run, this proactive approach to due diligence can lead to more sustainable business growth, as it not only detects and mitigates risks early but also positions the company as a responsible entity committed to ethical practices and legal compliance. Thus, investing in effective due diligence processes is not just a regulatory requirement but a strategic business imperative that can yield substantial dividends in terms of risk management, corporate reputation, and operational excellence.


The Removal of the UAE from the FATF’s grey list in February 2024

The UAE’s Victory – A New Dawn in Regulatory Compliance and Investment Opportunities

In a landmark achievement for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, has officially removed the UAE from its “grey list” as of February 23, 2024. This decision is a testament to the UAE’s steadfast commitment and rigorous efforts in implementing robust financial crime prevention measures. The move underscores the UAE’s enhanced regulatory framework and reaffirms its status as a reputable and secure global financial hub.


The Journey to Compliance

The UAE’s journey began in March 2022 when FATF placed the country on its “grey list” due to perceived strategic deficiencies in its systems. This listing led to increased monitoring and scrutiny, posing a challenge to the UAE’s reputation as a secure and attractive jurisdiction for trade and investment. In response, the UAE embarked on a comprehensive overhaul of its compliance framework. This initiative aimed to address the identified shortcomings and enhance the country’s reputation as a secure and attractive jurisdiction for trade and investment.

Key measures taken by the UAE include:

  • In February 2021, the UAE Cabinet approved the formation of the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) office to oversee the implementation of the UAE’s National AML/CFT Strategy and National Action Plan. The office is responsible for coordinating AML/CFT efforts within the UAE and improving international cooperation on these issues. It also works to enhance the UAE’s AML/CFT framework and legislation in coordination with relevant stakeholders​​​​.

  • The UAE established specialized money laundering courts to prosecute financial crimes, including money laundering. This move is part of the country’s efforts to build an effective framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing​​.

  • The UAE Central Bank periodically issues guidance to financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) on how to comply with AML/CFT laws and regulations. This includes guidance on suspicious activity/transaction reporting​​.
  • In October 2018, the UAE promulgated a new AML/CFT law to strengthen its regulatory framework against financial crimes. The law defines money laundering offenses and stipulates penalties for such crimes​​​​.

These measures demonstrate the UAE’s commitment to addressing the strategic deficiencies identified by FATF and enhancing its AML/CFT framework. The removal of the UAE from the FATF’s grey list in February 2024 is a testament to the effectiveness of these efforts and is expected to boost investor confidence and attract foreign investment​​.


A Symbol of Confidence

The UAE’s removal from the grey list is more than just a symbolic victory. It signifies a renewed confidence in the country’s regulatory environment, promising to attract greater foreign investment, reduce compliance costs, and lower borrowing expenses. This development is particularly significant as the UAE continues to position itself as a regional leader in technology and innovation.

Comply with Confidence - with the help of CRI Group's services


Opportunities for Businesses and Investors

With the UAE’s removal from the FATF grey list, businesses have several opportunities to explore and expand:

  • Enhanced Investor Confidence – The delisting signals to investors that the UAE is committed to maintaining a transparent and robust financial system, which can attract more foreign investment.

  • Improved International RelationsThe UAE’s efforts to strengthen its AML/CFT framework can lead to better relations with other countries, opening up new avenues for international trade and collaboration.

  • Access to Global Markets – Businesses in the UAE may find it easier to access global markets as the delisting reduces the perception of risk associated with financial transactions involving the UAE.

  • Lower Compliance Costs – With the removal from the grey list, companies might experience reduced compliance costs and fewer hurdles in conducting cross-border financial transactions.

  • Strengthened Financial Sector – The measures taken by the UAE to address FATF’s concerns can lead to a more robust and resilient financial sector, benefiting businesses operating in the region.

  • Attractive Destination for FDI – The UAE’s enhanced reputation as a compliant and secure financial hub can attract more foreign direct investment, boosting the economy and creating opportunities for local businesses.

  • Competitive Advantage – Companies that proactively adhere to the highest standards of compliance and due diligence can gain a competitive advantage, as they are perceived as trustworthy and reliable partners.

  • Innovation and Growth – The improved regulatory environment can encourage innovation and growth, as businesses can focus on expanding their operations without the overhang of being in a jurisdiction under increased monitoring.

To make the most of these opportunities, businesses should continue to invest in compliance, due diligence, and risk management practices, ensuring they remain aligned with international standards and best practices.


CRI Group™ – Your Partner in Building a Trusted Future

CRI Group™ is well-positioned to assist organizations in leveraging these opportunities while adhering to the highest standards of integrity and regulatory compliance. CRI Group offers a broad range of services to help businesses manage risks and ensure compliance, including:

Employee Background Checks:

Critical for hiring qualified, honest, and hard-working employees, CRI Group™’s employee background checks services, also known as EmploySmart™ are an integral part of thriving in the business community​​.


Vital for confirming the legitimacy of potential business partners and reducing risks associated with professional relationships. This level of due diligence ensures that working with outside parties will ultimately achieve an organization’s strategic and financial goals​​.

CRI Group™ provides Due Diligence service to secure your business

Third-Party Risk Management:

CRI Group‘s exclusive 3PRM™ services help organizations proactively mitigate risks from third-party affiliations, protecting them from liability, brand damage, and harm to the business​​.

Investigative Solutions:

CRI Group‘s team of experts can safeguard businesses from unseen threats such as employee fraud, compliance issues, third-party risk factors, and other concerns that can quickly and severely impact any organization​​​​.

Fraud Risk Investigations:

CRI Group‘s investigators and Certified Fraud Examiners are trained to recognize the patterns of fraud and can help uncover the trail of fraud, leading to a quick and successful resolution​​.

AML Advisory Services:

CRI Group helps organizations meet stakeholder expectations and safeguard their corporate reputation and competitive positioning with an effective AML framework​​.


CRI Group™ is well-positioned to assist businesses in capitalizing on the new opportunities presented by the UAE’s removal from the FATF grey list. With its comprehensive expertise in risk management, due diligence, and compliance, along with its global coverage and experienced team, CRI Group™ is a preferred partner for organizations seeking to navigate the complexities of the current regulatory environment effectively.

The recent grey list case verdict underscores the importance of robust compliance measures, and CRI Group™ offers the necessary tools and services to help businesses meet these standards and thrive in a more secure and transparent market. For more information, contact us at


Kuwait’s Degree Crackdown: A Wake-Up Call for Employee Screening

Kuwait’s Degree Crackdown: A Wake-Up Call for Employee Screening – Act Now or Risk Consequences

Kuwait’s proactive steps to validate the academic qualifications of its government employees signals a broader trend in addressing the challenges of fake academic credentials. This measure is crucial, particularly considering recent global incidents of degree fraud. A striking example is the South Florida fake nursing diploma scandal, where over 7,600 fraudulent diplomas were issued by three nursing schools, leading to charges against more than 25 individuals involved in this wire fraud scheme. These fraudulent credentials provided a shortcut for individuals to qualify for and pass nursing board exams, subsequently gaining employment in the healthcare sector. Each defendant in this case faces up to 20 years in prison​​.


Kuwait Case Highlights

Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission’s extensive effort to verify academic degrees held by government employees reflects a significant step in ensuring integrity and competence within the public sector. This comprehensive initiative, covering both Kuwaiti nationals and expatriates since 2000, is a response to growing concerns about the prevalence of fake degrees.

Dr. Hamad Al-Matar, chairman of the parliamentary Education, Culture, and Guidance Affairs Committee, highlighted the severity of the issue when he revealed that an investigation had uncovered 142 Kuwaitis in public institutions holding forged certificates from various Egyptian universities. This discovery underscores the widespread nature of the problem and the government’s commitment to addressing it.

The consequences of detecting a fake degree are severe, with legal actions including revocation of employment for those found guilty. This crackdown on fake degrees is part of Kuwait’s broader strategy to strengthen the credibility of its workforce and maintain high standards in its educational and professional sectors. The implications of this initiative are significant, given that foreigners make up a considerable portion (3.2 million) of Kuwait’s population. By implementing these measures, Kuwait is setting a precedent in the region for maintaining the integrity of academic qualifications and professional standards.

Kuwait’s Degree Crackdown underscores the critical need for rigorous employee screening and credential verification. They serve as a stark reminder of the risks posed by unverified academic claims, which can lead to serious consequences for businesses and institutions. This global trend of fake degree scandals accentuates the importance of diligence in the verification process for educational institutions and businesses hiring new employees.

Employee Background Checks - EmploySmart™ by CRI Group™

How Employee Background Screening Can Benefit Your Businesses

Employee background screening offers several corporate benefits that contribute to the overall health and success of an organization. Here are six key advantages:


1. Verification of Educational Credentials

Conducting thorough background checks on educational credentials is a crucial defense against the hiring of individuals with fake degrees. This process includes verifying the authenticity of diplomas and transcripts directly with educational institutions. The verification confirms the legitimacy of the academic qualifications and ensures the credibility of the skills and knowledge the candidate claims to have. This is particularly important in fields where specialized knowledge is critical to job performance and can mitigate risks associated with underqualified personnel making critical decisions or performing complex tasks.

2. Ensuring Qualified Personnel

By verifying academic achievements, companies ensure that their staff possess the requisite education and training for their roles. This is essential in industries like healthcare, engineering, and finance, where specialized knowledge is directly linked to job performance and safety. Qualified personnel are more likely to understand the complexities of their roles and perform them competently, reducing the risk of errors and improving overall productivity.

3. Upholding Industry Standards and Compliance

Many industries are regulated by laws that require employees to have certain qualifications. For instance, the healthcare sector often requires specific degrees and certifications. Background checks help ensure that employees meet these requirements, thereby maintaining compliance with industry regulations. Failure to do so can result in legal penalties, loss of licenses, and damage to the company’s credibility.

4. Reducing Risks of Malpractice and Liability

Employing individuals with fraudulent qualifications in critical roles can lead to professional malpractice, especially in fields like medicine, law, and engineering. Inadequate qualifications can result in poor decision-making, leading to accidents, legal suits, and financial losses. Background screening minimizes this risk by ensuring employees have the genuine qualifications they claim, protecting the company from potential liabilities and lawsuits.

5. Maintaining Company Reputation

A company’s reputation can be severely damaged if it’s discovered that employees have fake degrees. Such revelations can undermine public trust and confidence in the organization. Rigorous background screening processes help in maintaining a workforce with legitimate qualifications, thus preserving the company’s reputation for integrity and reliability. This is especially crucial in today’s digital age, where information spreads rapidly online.

6. Long-term Cost Savings

The initial investment in comprehensive background screening can lead to significant long-term savings. Hiring employees with fake degrees can result in poor job performance, leading to costly mistakes, increased training costs, and higher employee turnover. Effective screening reduces the likelihood of such hires, thus saving the company from potential financial losses and the cost of rehiring and retraining new employees.


Know Your Team Inside-Out with EmploySmart™

The recent initiative by Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission to meticulously scrutinize the educational certificates of all government employees, dating back to 2000, is a significant move in combating the issue of forged degrees.  In this context, EmploySmart™ by CRI Group™ becomes a crucial tool for businesses looking to ensure the authenticity of their employees’ qualifications. Our service is designed to provide an in-depth and comprehensive screening of potential and current employees. Here’s how EmploySmart™ can help businesses in the wake of the Kuwait case:

  • In-depth Verification: EmploySmart™ goes beyond surface-level checks to offer a comprehensive verification process that delves into every aspect of a candidate’s background. This includes an exhaustive analysis of educational credentials, ensuring the degrees and certifications listed are legitimate and conferred by accredited institutions. We extend our scrutiny to employment history, meticulously verifying past employments, job titles, and work performances. Professional references are not just contacted; they are thoroughly interviewed to glean insights into the candidate’s work ethic, skills, and behaviors. This all-encompassing approach ensures that every team member is qualified on paper and brings genuine expertise and experience to their role.


  • Compliance Assurance: EmploySmart™ provides a crucial service in ensuring that your hiring processes align with legal and regulatory frameworks. Drawing lessons from the Nazaha case in Kuwait, we understand the importance of adhering to legal standards in hiring practices. Our service meticulously checks for compliance with local, national, and international employment laws, helping you avoid the legal pitfalls and liabilities arising from non-compliant hiring practices. This includes ensuring adherence to data protection laws during the background check process, thereby safeguarding both the candidate’s rights and the company’s legal standing.


  • Risk Mitigation: In today’s complex business environment, mitigating risk is a top priority. EmploySmart™ plays a pivotal role in this aspect by rigorously vetting potential hires for falsified credentials. The threat posed by unqualified personnel in critical roles can be immense, particularly in sectors where specialized knowledge and skills are paramount. EmploySmart™’s diligent background checks protect your operations from the risks associated with fraudulent qualifications and preserve public trust and confidence in your organization.


  • Global Reach with Local Expertise: Recognizing that the modern workforce is increasingly global, EmploySmart™ offers an extensive range of background checks that encompass both local and international scopes. This dual approach ensures that their background can be thoroughly vetted no matter where a candidate has studied, worked, or lived. EmploySmart™ combines global reach with local expertise, understanding different countries’ nuances and legal requirements. This makes it an invaluable resource for businesses operating in a global marketplace, ensuring that their workforce meets the highest standards of integrity and qualification.


  • Customized Screening Packages: EmploySmart™ understands that different roles within a company require varying degrees of scrutiny. To address this, we offer bespoke screening packages tailored to the specific requirements of each position. Whether it’s a high-level executive role requiring in-depth financial history checks or a technical position needing detailed verification of professional certifications, EmploySmart™’s flexible approach ensures that each role receives the appropriate level of background checking. This customization enhances the screening process and ensures that resources are efficiently utilized.


  • Protecting Your Brand: In an era where a company’s reputation can be its most valuable asset, EmploySmart™ plays a vital role in safeguarding your brand’s integrity. By ensuring that your team is composed of individuals with verified and authentic backgrounds, EmploySmart™ helps maintain your organization’s reputation for reliability and trustworthiness. In a digital age where information is rapidly disseminated, ensuring the authenticity of your workforce is not just about compliance or risk mitigation; it’s about preserving the hard-earned trust and respect of your customers and the public.


Act Now for a Safer Tomorrow

In a world where the cost of hiring the wrong person can be enormous, both financially and reputationally, EmploySmart™ is not just a tool; it’s an essential component of your HR strategy. In the wake of Kuwait’s degree crackdown, let EmploySmart™ be your partner in building a trustworthy and competent workforce.

Take the Step Towards Transparency

Don’t let your company be tarnished by the risks associated with inadequate screening processes. Make the smart choice with EmploySmart™ and set a new standard in employee recruitment. Reach out to us at CRI Group™ and start a conversation about how EmploySmart™ can transform your hiring process and contribute to the long-term success of your business.

EU Shocks Global Supply Chains with Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Directive

The European Union has released a groundbreaking directive that will transform global supply chains forever. This directive will require large EU companies and non-European companies conducting significant business in Europe to assess and address their human rights and environmental impacts. The numbers are staggering – 13,000 EU companies and 4,000 non-EU companies will be affected by this monumental regulation.

But why is this directive causing such a seismic shift? The answer lies in the importance of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) for companies. The European Union, as the headquarters of some of the world’s largest corporations, understands the critical role it plays in shaping global business practices. Shockingly, the 2020 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark revealed that 85% of alleged human rights impacts occur in developing countries, despite 78% of the implicated companies being based in OECD countries.

This directive builds upon previous transparency initiatives such as the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive and the Conflict Minerals Directive. Its aim is to hold companies accountable for their human rights and environmental impacts, ensuring they take proactive measures to prevent, mitigate, and remedy any harm caused.

Non-compliance with this groundbreaking directive will have severe consequences. Companies failing to conduct effective due diligence or implement necessary measures will face administrative penalties and civil liability.

The implications are immense. The EU’s influence on global business practices is unparalleled, with €223.3 billion worth of goods imported into its territory. This directive is set to reshape supply chains, foster responsible business conduct, and protect vulnerable workers and communities worldwide.

HUMAN RIGHTS DUE DILIGENCE_ - CRI Group™ Due Diligence Service

What is Human Rights Due Diligence?

Human Rights Due Diligence entails taking deliberate actions to ensure that their operations and choices do not contribute to or benefit from human rights abuses. It is a responsibility that extends to businesses of all sizes and sectors. HRDD requires companies to be conscious of the products they procure, the services they utilize, and whether the rights of the people involved in their production have been safeguarded.

Supply Chain and Human Rights Due Diligence

Did you know that major global players like the United States, the European Union, and Germany are taking decisive steps to ensure that supply chains uphold human rights and environmental standards? It’s a crucial development that companies cannot afford to ignore.

The movement to hold companies accountable for their supply chains is gaining momentum worldwide, emphasizing tracing activities down to raw materials. The rules vary, with some being specific to individual companies based on their registration location, while others extend to goods crossing borders, irrespective of the manufacturer’s origin. Non-compliance human right risks range from minimal enforcement to penalties, civil actions, and even goods detainment.

Let’s delve into some of the notable regulations and proposals.

While these jurisdictions are taking the lead, numerous other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, and Norway, are also considering similar measures. The global trend is clear: companies will soon face heightened expectations and obligations regarding human rights and environmental sustainability.


UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights outline the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. These principles provide a global standard of expected conduct for all businesses and apply independently of a state’s obligations. The responsibility to respect human rights requires that businesses avoid infringing on the rights of others and address adverse human rights impacts they are involved in.

Here is a summary of the key principles:

  • Principle of Respect:

    Business enterprises should respect human rights and avoid infringing on the rights of others. This responsibility exists regardless of a state’s ability to fulfill its own human rights obligations and goes beyond compliance with national laws.

  • Internationally Recognized Human Rights:

    The responsibility to respect human rights includes internationally recognized human rights as expressed in the International Bill of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

  • Avoidance of Adverse Impacts:

    Businesses should avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts and address such impacts when they occur. This includes both impacts from their own activities and impacts linked to their business relationships.

  • Size and Context:

    The means through which businesses meet their responsibility to respect human rights may vary based on factors such as size, sector, operational context, and severity of impacts. All businesses, regardless of these factors, have the responsibility to respect human rights.

  • Policy Commitment:

    Businesses should have a policy commitment to meet their responsibility to respect human rights. This commitment should be approved at the most senior level, informed by expertise, communicated internally and externally, and reflected in operational policies and procedures.

  • Human Rights Due Diligence:

    Businesses should conduct human rights due diligence to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for their adverse human rights impacts. The complexity of due diligence may vary based on the size of the business and the severity of human rights impacts.

  • Integration and Action:

    Findings from human rights impact assessments should be integrated into relevant internal functions and processes, and appropriate actions should be taken to prevent or mitigate impacts. The enterprise should exercise leverage to address impacts it contributes to and seek to increase leverage where necessary.

  • Tracking and Communication:

    Businesses should track the effectiveness of their responses to human rights impacts and communicate externally about their actions. Communications should be accessible, provide sufficient information for evaluation, and not pose risks to stakeholders or commercial confidentiality.

  • Remediation:

    When businesses identify that they have caused or contributed to adverse impacts, they should provide for or cooperate in their remediation through legitimate processes.

  • Contextual Considerations:

    Businesses should comply with applicable laws, respect internationally recognized human rights, and treat the risk of causing or contributing to gross human rights abuses as a legal compliance issue. In complex contexts, businesses should seek external expertise from credible sources and prioritize actions to address the most severe impacts.

These principles aim to guide businesses in fulfilling their responsibility to respect human rights and promote accountability and transparency in their operations.


Choose CRI Group ESG Due Diligence Service For Risk Mitigation

With the release of groundbreaking directives and the global movement towards human rights due diligence, the business landscape is experiencing a transformative shift. At CRI Group, we understand the challenges and opportunities arising from these changes and are here to help businesses thrive in this evolving context.

As a 30-year experienced service provider, we offer comprehensive human rights due diligence solutions through our ESG due diligence services that assist companies being compliant with the laws and achieving sustainable practices. Here’s how we can support your business in the light of this changing landscape:

Expert Guidance

Our team of experts stays up-to-date with the latest regulations, directives, and guidelines surrounding human rights due diligence. We provide tailored advice and practical strategies to help you navigate the complexities of these frameworks and ensure compliance.

Due Diligence Assessments

We conduct thorough due diligence assessments, evaluating your company’s human rights practices, environmental impacts, and supply chain operations. We identify and assess actual and potential risks, areas for improvement, and opportunities for positive impact, enabling you to make informed decisions and take targeted actions.

Compliance Strategies

We assist you in developing effective compliance strategies that align with international standards and regulatory requirements. Our expertise in interpreting and implementing these frameworks helps you establish robust policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms that demonstrate your commitment to responsible business practices.

Stakeholder Engagement

Engaging with stakeholders is crucial in the realm of human rights and environmental sustainability. We help you build meaningful relationships with stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, communities, and investors. Through transparent and inclusive communication, we help foster trust, gather valuable insights, and drive positive change.

Training and Capacity Building

We offer customized training programs and capacity-building initiatives to empower your workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the evolving landscape of responsible business practices. Our workshops and educational events enhance awareness, encourage ethical decision-making, and foster a culture of sustainability within your company’s operations.

Supply Chain Management

We assist you in implementing robust supply chain management practices that prioritize human rights, environmental sustainability, and ethical sourcing. By mapping and monitoring your supply chain, we help identify potential risks, support supplier engagement, and promote responsible sourcing practices.

Performance Measurement and Reporting

We help you develop comprehensive performance measurement frameworks and reporting systems to track your progress towards sustainability goals. Our expertise in data collection, analysis, and reporting enables you to effectively communicate your efforts, achievements, and areas for improvement to stakeholders and build trust in your commitment to responsible business practices.

Continuous Improvement

We recognize that responsible business practices require ongoing commitment and continuous improvement. Our services provide ongoing support, allowing you to adapt to evolving regulations, incorporate best practices, and continually enhance your sustainability performance.

Our due diligence services equip your business with the tools and knowledge to thrive in this dynamic landscape shaped by the EU directive and global trends. We are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of human rights due diligence, embrace sustainability, and positively impact society and the environment.

Partner with us to embrace the opportunities this changing business landscape presents and build a resilient and responsible future for your organization. Together, we can drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world.

UAE Imposes Fines on Non-Compliant Corporations: Is Your Business At Risk?

UAE Businesses Beware: AED 22.6 Million in Fines for Non-Compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Regulations!

That’s right, the UAE’s Ministry of Economy has cracked down on 29 companies operating in the designated non-financial business or professions (DNFBP) sector for failing to comply with AML/CFT legislation. Violations ranged from a lack of internal policies and procedures to check customer databases against terrorism lists to failure to identify financial crime risks in their fields of work.

The message is clear – compliance with these regulations is no longer a choice, but a requirement. Businesses operating in the DNFBP sector must prioritize AML/CFT programs, including regular risk assessments, robust internal controls, and employee training.

Importance of AML/CFT compliance

The importance of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance cannot be overstated, especially within the UAE’s landscape, where the government is cracking down on non-compliant corporations. A robust AML compliance policy can not only protect against money laundering and terrorist financing but can also prevent fraud. Here are five key reasons why AML compliance is critical for businesses operating in the UAE.

Threat Evolution:

Criminal methods have become more sophisticated and complex, making them difficult to detect. Lone-wolf terrorists, cyber-enabled criminals, and e-commerce criminals are trending types of criminals in the UAE. It’s essential for businesses to stay ahead of these threats by complying with AML regulations.

Reputational Risk:

A crisis in Anti Money Laundering compliance can severely harm a company’s reputation and negatively affect customer trust. Companies that have been investigated or fined for non-compliance may need to appear more trustworthy to customers, leading to a loss of business. Protect your reputation by implementing a robust AML compliance program.

Poor Client Experience:

Non-compliance with AML regulations can increase the potential risk of fraud. A successful fraud attack can also affect the customers of a company. Don’t put your clients at risk – ensure that your business is fully compliant with AML regulations.

Regulatory Action:

The UAE has strict AML regulations that require financial institutions and businesses to comply with customer due diligence, transaction monitoring, and reporting of suspicious activities. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and penalties imposed by regulatory authorities. Non-compliant businesses may face severe legal consequences, including criminal liability for individuals within the organization.

Financial Crime Persistence:

Enforcing AML regulations is crucial as financial crimes remain a persistent issue in the UAE. Money laundering enables criminal organizations to disguise the origin of their illegal proceeds, which can lead to economic instability, funding of terrorism, and loss of public trust in the financial system. Stay ahead of the game and maintain the integrity of your business by complying with AML regulations.

Penalties and Consequences

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy is intensifying field inspections and providing awareness and training support to DNFBP companies to ensure compliance with AML/CFT legislation and international standards issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). With further punitive measures on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that they are fully compliant with AML/CFT regulations.

The penalties for non-compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations are severe, and businesses must take them seriously. Failure to comply with AML/CFT laws can result in heavy fines, damage to reputation, and even criminal prosecution.

The consequences of non-compliance are not to be taken lightly. Heavy fines can severely impact a business’s bottom line, while damage to reputation can harm its ability to attract and retain customers. In some cases, non-compliance can even result in criminal prosecution. The risks are too great to ignore, and businesses must take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

Stay Ahead of the Curve: Protect Your Business with Robust AML Compliance

Are you concerned about the potential risks of money laundering and terrorist financing within your organization? Compliance with AML regulations is critical to protect your business and maintain the financial system’s integrity. At CRI Group™, we understand the importance of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance and offer advisory services to analyze your systems and develop effective solutions to combat money laundering. Our unmatched investigative capabilities and worldwide presence make us uniquely qualified to resolve regulatory concerns and help businesses ensure compliance with AML/CFT regulations.

If you operate in the financial sector, complying with AML regulations is essential. Failure to comply can result in fines, reputational damage, and even criminal prosecution. That’s why we recommend registering with our anti money laundering services to ensure you’re following regulations for the prevention of money laundering.

At CRI Group™, our vast Anti-Corruption and Compliance network offers the protection you need when making critical bottom-line decisions. Leave it to our experts to help you with AML compliance and provide the protection you need to combat money laundering. With our 360-degree analysis of your challenges, we can ensure that your business is fully compliant with AML/CFT regulations, reducing the risk of fines and reputational damage. Here’s how CRI Group™ Group can help:

In-Depth AML Risk Assessment:

Our team of experts will undertake a comprehensive AML risk assessment to analyze the vulnerabilities and potential threats within your organization’s operations. The assessment will incorporate an evaluation of your existing AML policies, procedures, controls, and the nature of your company’s products, services, customers, and geographic locations. Our analysis and evaluation will help in identifying potential risks and emerging trends that are necessary for effective AML risk management.

GAP Analysis for the Scope of ISO 37301 Compliance Management System:

Our team of consultants will perform a detailed GAP analysis of your organization to ensure compliance with the ISO 37301 standard. We will evaluate your current system and processes, identify shortcomings, and present recommendations to help your company fill the existing gaps. Our analysis will facilitate the understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and competencies required for compliance with the standard.

Provision of AML Framework:

We will provide a comprehensive framework to guide your organization in establishing and maintaining an effective AML compliance program. This framework will include policies, procedures, and protocols for risk assessment, customer due diligence, transaction monitoring, and reporting. Our team will work closely with your staff to implement this framework for compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and industry best practices.

Global Sanction Screening & Third-Party Risk Management:

Our screening services will help identify, assess, and mitigate the potential risks associated with third-party relationships. With our global database, we can monitor a wide range of regulatory lists and relevant databases, providing you with peace of mind that your company’s dealings with third parties will not put your organization at risk of non-compliance with AML regulations.

Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO):

Our team will assist your organization in the appointment of an MLRO. This officer will be tasked with overseeing your company’s AML policy and reporting matters to relevant regulators. We’ll help you identify a qualified MLRO who possesses the experience and knowledge required for carrying out this crucial duty effectively.

Policy Statement:

We will work with you to develop a clear and concise policy statement outlining your organization’s commitment to AML compliance. Our policy statement will outline the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the implementation of the AML policy, including the board of directors, senior management, employees, and applicable third parties/vendors. This statement will provide clarity on the compliance requirements, enhancing risk awareness and making it easier for employees to comply with AML legislation.

Identifying Financing Terrorism:

Our experts will assist you in identifying potential risks associated with financing terrorism. By conducting risk assessments and due diligence checks, we can help identify unusual transactions that could be linked to terrorist financing. Our team will help in the implementation of preventive and control measures, ensuring that your organization is always one step ahead of potential risks.

Corporate Principles – An Ethical & Integrated Business Approach:

We’ll help develop corporate principles that emphasize an ethical and integrated approach to doing business. Our team will work with you to identify fundamental values that your company stands for, and ensure that these are integrated into your operations. We’ll also help with the development of programs to encourage ethical behavior and integrity in your workforce. These corporate principles will help to build a positive reputation while displaying governance and a strong ethical culture.

Industries We Serve

At CRI Group™, we are committed to helping businesses across a wide range of industries to stay compliant with AML/CFT regulations. Our services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each industry, including:

  • Automotive: Whether you’re a car manufacturer, dealer or supplier, our AML services can help you mitigate risks and ensure compliance with AML regulations.
  • Aviation: Airlines, airports and other aviation companies face unique AML risks that require specialized solutions. Our experts can help you detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities.
  • Finance & Professional Services: Banks, financial institutions, law firms and accounting firms all require robust AML compliance programs to protect their clients and reputation. We provide tailored solutions to meet the needs of each business.
  • IT & Telecommunications: With the rise of online transactions, the IT and telecommunications industry faces new challenges in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. Our AML solutions can help you stay ahead of the curve.
  • Insurance: The insurance industry is vulnerable to money laundering and fraudulent activities. Our AML services can help you detect and prevent these risks, ensuring the integrity of the insurance system.
  • Property: The real estate industry is also vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing. Our AML solutions can help property developers, agents, and managers detect and prevent these risks.
  • Pharmaceutical & Healthcare: The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry faces a range of financial crime risks, including money laundering and bribery. Our AML services can help you ensure compliance and mitigate these risks.
  • Oil, Gas & Energy: The oil, gas and energy industry is subject to unique risks that require specialized AML solutions. Our experts can help you detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

No matter what industry your business operates in, compliance with AML/CFT regulations is crucial. With CRI Group’s industry-specific solutions, you can rest assured that your business is fully protected against the risks of financial crime.

Don’t let your business fall prey to the threat of money laundering and financial crimes. Trust CRI Group™ to provide you with the expert advisory services and protection you need to ensure compliance and success in the financial sector. Contact CRI Group™ Group for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Advisory service today and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with AML regulations.

Think Employee Background Checks are a waste of time? Think again!

So you think an Employee Background Check is a waste of your time? Here are some alarming stories for you:


One of our clients had interviewed an impressive candidate who had done well in the interview and had all the skills for the job. But the reference list he provided seemed ambiguous which included work experiences from much former jobs and did not provide any details of his recent employers for the client to verify the authenticity. We were in a perplexed situation unable to identify whether this was a red flag in our pre-employment screening (recruitment) process or did our candidate simply lack the skills to put together a credible reference list?

To further the hiring process we had recommended the client to ask their prospective job applicant to provide relevant information of his two recent managers for background verification to which he obliged and that made him appear to be reliable.

However, this was a short-lived impression since after connecting with the line managers we discovered that this candidate had been fired by both of his last employers for theft and fraud following with jail time for those cases.

Imagine if we, like some employers, wouldn’t make an effort to go an extra mile to check employee references, conduct thorough pre-employment investigation and make sure that each and every provided information is reliable only to put the corporation at the verge of reputational risk?

An open-ended question for our readers! Would your employee background screening practices have kept this from happening to you, or would this guy now be working down the hall from you, swindling you too? 

The lesson from this incident clearly is: Don’t limit yourself only to the candidate’s list of references. If the candidate has offered peers or personal references rather than managers, ask to be put in touch with the specific people you want to talk to. Call the main switchboard numbers rather than the direct number you were given. For all you know, the candidate could have given you a friend’s phone number so the friend can pose as the former boss. Ask the right questions. If you just run through a perfunctory list of questions, you may never get to the most useful information. References are only a waste of time if you treat them like just an item to check off your list, rather than as a genuinely valuable part of your assessment process.

Downside of Negligent Hiring 

Recruiters should also have a clear understanding of the skills an applicant needs to possess to succeed in their job role. AJ Silberman-Moffitt, senior editor at search marketing agency Tandem Buzz, learned just how wrong things can go when the wrong candidate is hired while she was training her replacement after accepting a promotion. “Because she worked in a position with the same title as mine, there was no reason to think she would not know how to use the necessary tools and software,” Silberman-Moffitt said. “She answered everything appropriately in the interview, and the HR manager and I hired her,” according to a report in the

Once the new hire accepted the offer, it quickly became evident she didn’t have the skill set needed to do the job. “When she started, and I began to train her, it was like a deer staring into headlights,” Silberman-Moffitt recalls. “Even the simplest tasks, such as entering information into Excel, were difficult for her. It seemed that traffic at an agency and a television station were not as similar as I thought they would be. “The recruitment ended in defeat, resulting in wasted time and money, Silberman-Moffitt said. “Ultimately, she was let go because she couldn’t grasp the job.” During the hiring process, consider giving applicants an assessment or a test. Aptitude tests and projects aren’t always necessary, but these procedures evaluate whether the candidate can perform the responsibilities of the role. If you use any software or tools that are central to the role, it’s best to ask targeted questions about the applicant’s experience with them.


Why an Employee Background Vetting is an Indispensable Recruitment Tool

Employee Background check concepts are inescapable for your organisation if you are looking to minimise risks surrounding a bad hire. The concept of pre-employment screening has become one of the most significant phases in the recruitment process.

The escalating figure of crime scenes and fraudulence incidents justifies why organisations take up this step. Within the dynamic business environment we’re operating in, corporations are now more inclined towards being vigilant of the quality of employees they are hiring. Specifically, the human resource managers are strategizing to reduce employee turnover and burnout rate thereby increasing retention of competent employees. With the vision of achieving a sustainable workplace environment, pre-employment screening and comprehensive background checks are becoming an essential instrument to welcome and retain the finest possible.  

The concept of Employee Background Check

An Employee Background Check is a worthwhile concept as employers strive to have the best pick from the candidates who show up for the recruitment process. After the interview sessions are over, a minimum of two weeks is required to get through the employee background screening procedure before you can finalise the hires. Since this procedure requires a thorough knowledge of regulatory compliance and investigative analytical skills, corporations outsource this service to the industrial experts to conduct a comprehensive verification of 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. 

Download our EmploySmart brochure or get a free quote to ensure a safe work environment for all.

Advantages of an Employee Background Check

Organisations carry out such checks due to a myriad of reasons. Some of these include:

  • Validating the resume
  • Learning about the nature of the candidate
  • Behaviour at past offices
  • Learning about criminal experience

What to include in Employee Background Checks?

  • History of employment: Verify the references given by the candidate as it confirms their behavioural and working patterns with previous employers. 
  • Criminal background: It is essential to confirm that the candidate does not have a criminal history.
  • Credit history: Knowing the credit rating of your candidate is also important as this reveals the integrity of the employees. 
  • Terror Watch List: For the businesses running in countries like the USA, checking the Terror Watch List against names of their candidates is especially critical.
  • Checking Social Security: Organisations should check the legitimacy of Social Security Numbers of candidates. This will also confirm if the candidate has been using other names.
  • Checking public/court records: This is done to check if the candidate has been implicated in any sort of court proceedings or not.
  • 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: A Sex Offender Registry check must be conducted as well so you don’t endanger others, especially in roles surrounding children and other susceptible individuals, by hiring a sexual predator.
  • Education check: This 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.

In conducting employee background checks, there are some golden rules that one needs to observe to avoid any legal complications. These do and don’ts include but are not limited to:


  • 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.
  • Employing a Background Check service provider who is compliant with the legal frameworks of your region
  • Understanding the difference between background checks vs investigative consumer reports.


  • Avoid background checks on an applicant-by-applicant basis. The checks should be carried out for everyone.
  • Avoid making the assumption that some parts of the background check process are routine
  • Avoid making decisions without giving 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 the private life of an individual while verifying the historical employment facts.

Necessities for conducting Employee Background Checks

  • You need to have a candidate’s 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.

What are the disadvantages of an Employee Background Check?

One of the major disadvantages is that you might see this as a wastage of time and money. An 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 his/her 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.

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!


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 Diligence, TPRMCompliance 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 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.

How does Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation in EU affect Asia

With the EU Due Diligence Legislation in play, the concept of mandatory human rights due diligence for companies is gaining momentum among governments and businesses in Europe. So how does this legislation matter? In terms of working conditions in India, for example, a government report found that:

  • A sizeable number of workers in India earn less than half of the accepted minimum wage
  • 71% do not have a written employment contract
  • 54% do not get paid leave
  • Nearly 80% of these in urban areas work well beyond the eight-hour workday (48-hour week).

The tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in 2013, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 people, confirmed for European lawmakers the need to establish a strict liability regime for corporate supply chains, says a report by Dr Daniel Sharma on

The EU Due Diligence Legislation imposes liabilities on companies that procure their products through supply chains from India and South Asia and sell them in Europe. The aim is to establish sanctions under public law and establish complaint procedures for affected parties. 

Navigating Human Rights Due Diligence Requirements

Let us take a look at how companies with supply chains to India and South Asia can safely navigate this new regulatory landscape at the EU level:

  • A good start would be to conduct an independent risk analysis of the company’s value chains, looking at the risk of potential human rights or environmental violations. Needless to say, this risk analysis must be conducted by independent third parties with knowledge of systems in India and South Asia.
  • Companies should create a compliance structure and screening mechanism taking into account the cultural diversity of India and South Asia and ensuring that suppliers comply with the due diligence obligations.
  • Companies must conduct a risk analysis of their value chains annually to verify that the due diligence mechanisms installed concerning their value chains are working and conduct an effective analysis of their preventive grievance mechanisms.
  • Preventive measures need to be adopted for factors identified within the company’s value chain during the required risk analysis. This should be done by preparing agreements in which the suppliers are also required to comply with due diligence requirements relating to human rights, labour and environmental standards.
  • Issuance of a policy statement regarding respect for human rights and the use of transparent and public reporting processes will also make the system robust for both the company as well as their suppliers.
  • Random checks of the aforementioned requirements at regular intervals should also be part of effective supplier management, and suppliers can be asked to ensure that compliance standards are also observed in the downstream value chains.

Implementing the above will allow companies to safely navigate European supply chain legislation without exposing themselves to sanctions or penalties.

We Can Help With Human Rights Due Diligence

The CRI Group™ has developed a highly specialised assessment solution for Corporate Due Diligence to assist organisations in accurately identifying, preventing, mitigating and addressing actual and potential adverse impacts of affiliating with global partners and complying with all EU mandates.

From enhanced due diligence to identify non-compliance with the regulatory framework and damaging environmental allegations to investigating company (or stakeholder) human rights violations related to labour laws, child labour or human trafficking, CRI Group™ experts help determine the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners and suppliers affiliated with your company’s value chain.

About CRI Group™

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the 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 and is an HRO-certified provider and partners 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 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.

Background Investigations: One-on-one interview with Zafar Anjum

Background Investigations: One-on-one Interview with Zafar Anjum

Having dedicated his career to a background investigation, fraud prevention, protective integrity, security and compliance, Zafar Anjum is a distinguished and highly respected professional in his field. As Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Corporate Research and Investigations Limited (CRI Group™), he uses his extensive knowledge and expertise in creating stable and secure networks across challenging global markets. For organisations needing comprehensive project management, security, safeguard testing, background investigations and real-time compliance applications, Anjum is the assurance expert of choice for industry professionals.

Q: To what extent have you seen an increase in corporate fraud in recent years? What are some of the common themes and underlying causes?

Anjum: Fraud always seems to be increasing. No matter how sophisticated our attempts to prevent it become, perpetrators are always adapting with new methods. According to the 2020 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Report to the nations, asset misappropriation is the leading type of occupational fraud. It makes up 86% of fraud cases and causes a median loss of $100,000. On the other spectrum, financial statement fraud schemes are the least common (10% of cases) but are the most costly, causing a median loss of $954,000. A typical fraud case can last 14 months before detection and cause a loss of $8,300 per month – a whopping 5% of an organisations revenue is lost to fraud each year. There are various factors at play here, but it starts with ‘tone at the top’. Basically, corporate culture often sets the tone for how strict or lax an organisation prevents or detects fraud. Combine a lax approach with a country or jurisdiction where corruption is still prevalent, even considered ‘business as usual, and there will likely be a fraud.

Q: Could you outline the benefits of using background investigations to reduce potential fraud? Under what circumstances is it prudent to undertake a background investigation?

Anjum: It should be a priority to conduct thorough background investigations when engaging in a merger or acquisition, an initial public offering (IPO), engaging suppliers, contractors or new clients – your client relationships can affect your organisation’s reputation and your ability – to name a few situations. This can help you avoid becoming entangled with third parties that have hidden fraud and other legal issues. It will also make you aware of a potential partner who has credit risk, has claimed bankruptcy or is faced with debtor filings, for example. In one case, a company was seeking to engage a new supplier for medical supplies and equipment. A background investigation revealed that the warehouse’s physical location – claimed by this ‘supplier’ did not exist. The company’s principal had previously been charged with a ‘criminal breach of trust’. Three other civil damages claims against the principal were discovered, with millions claimed in liabilities.

Q: What are some of the best practice approaches to conducting a background investigation? 

Anjum: One of the most important aspects of thorough background investigations is having a ‘boots on the ground approach. Online database searches can only take you so far. When conducting due diligence on entities or individuals, red flags that pop up often warrant further checking before they can be truly weighed as part of the decision process. For example, if you are considering partnering with another company and providing information for their physical location, do you have agents who can visit that location to make sure it is legitimate? Investigations sometimes discover that purported ‘headquarters’ is actually an abandoned home or vacant lot. Also, if certain credentials are claimed, you need to make phone calls or possibly a visit to the school or accrediting bodies to verify them. These are the important details that help you with facts that help guide your decisions.



Q: What kinds of legal or regulatory issues might complicate a background investigation?

Anjum: Privacy laws are probably the most important issue, and they need to be carefully understood and followed for every jurisdiction. In the UK, for example, the pandemic has created new data privacy issues, but prudent organisations are constantly evaluating their data protection strategies under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When it comes to background investigations, similar privacy considerations apply. You might want to check an individuals’ financial or credit history – relevant information if they own a business you seek to partner with or acquire, or if you are considering them for a high-level position at your organisation. Accessing such information is permitted in some jurisdictions and restricted by law in others. The last thing you want is to end up in court for violating someone’s privacy. It is best to engage a professional due diligence background screening firm. They will be trained and up-to-date on the laws governing your background investigations, plus they will have access to resources that most companies do not have.

Q: To what extent are background investigations more challenging in a cross-border or multi-jurisdictional context? How can these additional challenges be overcome or avoided?

Anjum: This goes back to the importance of having investigators in various locations, your ‘boots on the ground’, in your approach to due diligence. The world is much smaller these days as organisations seek to expand across international borders. And the COVID-19 is teaching leaders invaluable lessons in business efficiencies and future strategy. This can lead to obvious challenges – both following the laws and regulations in various jurisdictions and overcoming language and cultural barriers. That is why it is important to have access to locally-based agents – including certified fraud examiners and similarly credentialed professionals – to help with your checks, whether investigating a potential third-party partner or an individual being considered for employment. Another advantage is to have a set, written policy and process for conducting background investigations that you can reference and rely upon when undertaking key business decisions. In this way, your organisation is less susceptible to someone convincing you to bypass proper due diligence simply because it might seem logistically difficult to conduct an overseas investigation.



Q: Once the background investigation results are collated, what are the key points to analysing?

Anjum: If red flags are uncovered, the best way to further investigate is to understand discrepancies. For example, suppose you are conducting background screening on a potential employee, and something comes up in their criminal record, rather than eliminating them from consideration. In that case, you should ensure that there was no error in your background check, investigate the discrepancy, gather all relevant information, and ask the person to explain what you found and why they did not disclose it. They might have an explanation that affects your decision process. In other words, do not overlook potential talent. According to Nacro, more than 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record – that’s 1 in 3 men – however, just over half of these had been convicted on only one occasion, and 85% were convicted before they were 30 years old. Not all of those have a prison record, however. Most convictions are for motoring offences, such as speeding or unpaid tickets.

Q: What essential advice would you offer to companies on developing internal policies and processes to combat fraud? should intensive background investigations form part of their standard procedures?

Anjum: Intensive background investigations should be a part of an organisation’s standard procedures. It should be part of a greater risk management plan, be set forth as written policy that owners and directors approve, and be reviewed and understood by management and other relevant personnel. Engage risk management professionals when developing your policies and procedures. They can help tailor a plan based o your organisation. Key questions to address should include; who will implement the plan, how an investigation is conducted, who evaluates and reports the results, etc. Sometimes organisations put forth a thorough, excellent programme for background investigations and then, six months or a year later, nobody is following it. The key to success is following through with it and ensuring your entire organisation understands the process and why it is so important. The security of your company depends on effective risk management.

The security of your company depends on effective risk management

Background investigations are critical to any company’s success because working with qualified, honest and hard-working employees and other businesses is integral to thriving in the business community. What you don’t know can hurt you, and the simple act of one bad decision can result in an unprecedented loss for your company. 

From vendor and third-party screening to employment screening, CRI Group™ recommends background investigations as critical proactive measures to help keep your business safe. An effective background screening investigation will help screen for bad apples that can cause havoc down the road. Because we maintain a diverse talent base comprised of multilingual and multi-cultural professionals, CRI™ can traverse obstacles that often impede international background investigations. That’s why we are frequently contracted by our competitors to conduct background investigations in geographic regions not serviced or accessible by larger investigative firms. 


Meet our CEO

Zafar I. Anjum is Group Chief Executive Officer of CRI Group™ (, a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, business due to diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading businesses organisations.  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, 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.


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