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Forensic Accountants don’t suffer from cold feet

Member: Nifa

Most people in the UK are aware that iconic TV series Cold Feet is back on our screens almost 20 years after it started and features the same characters, who are now older but not necessarily wiser. In fact, one of the gang, management consultant David, appears to have fallen foul of the bribery laws but is in denial that his actions could in any way be construed as illegal, commenting to his solicitor that he’ll “plead not guilty, get bail and be home” before his wife . However, the Crown has unleashed forensic accountants on David’s accounts and is fairly confident it has a case for him to answer.

Sadly for David, his company appears to have hung him out to dry and, as his solicitor mentions, it will be fielding witness for the prosecution rather than for the defence. This is where drama and real life diverge, as generally speaking, when the integrity of senior management has been called into question, the firm would bring in independent financial experts to ensure that the situation has been thoroughly investigated and to rebut, where possible, the allegations of impropriety by the prosecution.

The Bribery Act 2010 introduced the offence of giving or receiving bribes, in the UK or abroad, in order to obtain or retain business. It also introduced a new strict liability offence if businesses fail to prevent bribery by employees, agents or persons connected to their business. Therefore, it is in David’s firm’s interests to retain its own team of forensic accountants.

The prosecution has been investigating David’s computer and had come up with a number of damning indications that he either received or gave out bribes, including evidence of his having been a guest at the Grand Prix in Monaco and having sent Chinese officials expensive gifts. David calls these ‘being courteous’ but to a forensic investigator, they could point to evidence of criminality, especially if the value of the “gifts” was deemed to be unreasonable or disproportionate.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 10 October 2016

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