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Money transfer giant Western Union is set to invest millions in compliance and monitoring systems to combat fraud and money laundering.

29 August 2015

Senior figures in the company have declared that it plans to exceed the $250 million a year it currently spends on compliance and money laundering controls. Earlier this year, the company’s Irish division was fined 1.75 million euros after regulators found loopholes in its anti-money laundering safeguards.

From our experience of money laundering cases and of advising clients on how to prevent it, it is vital that organisations look at every possible aspect of their activities. Only then can the real potential for money laundering be fully identified. At Rahman Ravelli, we regularly emphasise the need to examine an organisation’s functions with an objective eye in order to spot possible problems.

Western Union has so far declined to announce exactly how much extra it is to spend on such controls. But the issue may well be one of how shrewdly the money is spent rather than how much is spent.

Fraud cost the UK’s FTSE-listed companies an estimated £103.23 billion in 2013-14.

The figure comes from a report compiled at the University of Portsmouth. It added that losses from fraud have increased by almost 18% since 2010-11 – and by 29% since the start of the recession in 2008.

University researchers compiled the report using data for the past 17 years that covered a number of major economic countries and more than 40 business sectors. Its conclusions regarding the 1,709 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange include the argument that losses could be reduced by up to 40% within 12 months if the right measures were introduced.

In our experience of fraud cases, the possibility to commit fraud seldom pops up suddenly. It is usually the result of systematic flaws in the way workplace responsibilities are organised and executed. To say that the right measures need to be introduced is one thing – identifying what those measures are is the real task.

Senior medical staff will be forced to declare all gifts and hospitality they receive from drug companies or face dismissal and prosecution, according to the Health Secretary.

All hospitals and GP groups will now have to keep a register of hospitality and gifts from pharmaceutical firms to health service staff. The announcement from Jeremy Hunt follows the discovery by the Daily Telegraph of evidence that shows senior NHS managers being paid thousands and taken on expensive trips by drug firms.

While it is unsettling that such activity is going on, it begs the question who was aware of the law when it comes to bribery? The Bribery Act has been in effect for four years and it covers quite clearly instances where benefits are given or received in order to gain an unfair advantage.

Some people in the legal corridors of various NHS trusts have shown either a failure to monitor hospitality or an ignorance of the law.


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