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More financial investigators needed to cut serious and organised crime

Member: Nifa

It was reported this week that the cost of serious and organised crime to the UK is at least £37 billion a year. According to the National Crime Agency (NCA), the threat posed by this crime is now greater than terrorism. It is therefore not surprising that more financial investigators are needed.

Responding to the NCA’s report, Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace, announced a £48 million boost to the National Economic Crime Centre and gave a warning to the crime bosses who think they can “act with impunity”.

As he said in his formal response to the NCA, criminals are developing new ways of doing things, so the Government needs to develop new methods of detection, including more financial investigators.

Mr Wallace cited BBC series McMafia in his response, saying that it exposed the reality of serious and organised crime in the 21st Century. In the show, the lead character explains how easy it is to hide the provenance of cash and does so seemingly effortlessly as he transfers money from his own account to a shell company and supposedly legitimate businesses that are actually fronts for organised crime.

The Minister pointed out that in London’s financial centre, there is an average $2.7 trillion per day reported in UK foreign exchange. As he said, that is a “huge haystack in which to hide illicit finance”.

However, with more financial investigators on board, the haystack will become easier to pick through. Forensic accountants will seize on the smallest anomaly or document that does not ‘look right’ and follow it as far as it takes them.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “As this report points out, financial crime is becoming increasingly common and increasingly serious.

“At times such as these, it is important to appoint forensic accountants and other experts to comb through the finer details of more complex cases, in order to increase the chances of unveiling the truth.”

Author: Roger Isaacs 6 November 2018

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