Financial crime in a pandemic

Financial crime in a pandemic

Fraud, money laundering, hacking, cyber attacks and bribery are key parts of the modern tool kit for financial criminals. The volatility and uncertainty characteristic of economic crises, such as the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, provide fertile ground for these crimes. On a recent PRIMEtime Virtual Event, Gay Huey Evans OBE, P.R.I.M.E. Finance expert, chair of the London Metal Exchange in December 2019 and an independent non-executive director of Standard Chartered plc (where she is chair of the Board Committee on Financial Crime and serves as a member of the Board Risk Committee), identified financial crime as a significant risk which is heightened by the current crisis.

What kinds of financial crimes are of most concern to you?

Businesses in distress and individuals concerned about their livelihoods are vulnerable to any number of frauds or other financial crimes. Those who may feel uncertain about their future will be more likely to grasp at ‘get rich quick’ schemes which fall outside the law.

Governments are also making extraordinary efforts to pump money into the economy. Unfortunately, fraudsters are all too ready to take advantage. There have already been several examples of companies filing false claims for government relief and setting up fictitious businesses ostensibly to supply face masks and other equipment. Funds intended for legitimate procurement and construction projects such as community medical facilities may also go astray.

The ‘work from home’ trend has been essential to allowing businesses to continue to function, but this dispersed way of doing business leaves firms and individuals potentially more susceptible to hacking and cyber security attacks. It is also more complex for firms to monitor the activities of their employees, which in turn could make it more difficult to detect money launder

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About the author:

Emma is head of the Banking and Finance team and the Finance Group at LexisNexis®UK.

Emma has wide-ranging experience in derivatives and capital markets with a particular emphasis on credit derivatives and structured products. Emma qualified as a solicitor with Allen & Overy LLP, working in the derivatives and structured finance teams in both their London and Paris offices before gaining experience with Deutsche Bank AG (advising the foreign exchange prime brokerage desk) and Crédit Agricole CIB (advising the fixed income and derivatives desk) before joining LexisNexis®.