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Money trail nails guilty party

Member: Nifa

In the latest of the prolific references to financial forensic investigations to hit our screens recently, a suspect pharmacist-turned-businessman is put in the frame after financial investigators find he is linked with a series of payments to a man damaged by drugs testing. This is just one of the story’s strands in the BBC series New Blood, written by James Bond author Anthony Horowitz, who is presumably well-versed in the murky world of business corruption.

In the TV series, two junior investigators, one from the police and one from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), join forces after realising they are both working on the case, albeit from different angles. Both rely on forensic evidence, although the policeman is concerned with fingerprints and DNA while the SFO investigator is following the money.

The premise of the SFO’s investigation in the show is that the pharmaceutical firm in question is using bribery and extortion to control the market of a particular drug. As with any forensic investigation, the investigators are looking at what money is being spent on. In this case, the firm is bribing doctors by offering them ‘training courses’ in exotic locations and inviting them to parties where more than just drinks and canapés are on the menu. In addition, employees are kept sweet by receiving higher remuneration than the market norm and company cars far above their normal pay grade.

All of this is precisely what a forensic accountant would investigate in a ‘real’ case and would be able to work out whether the actions are indicative of corruption or fraud or represent acceptable practice.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 20 June 2016

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