Treasury Committee publishes report on fraud, scams and economic crime – comment

Commenting on the just-published Treasury Committee Economic Crime Report, Aziz Rahman, founder and Senior Partner of economic crime specialists Rahman Ravelli, said: “The report is not ground-breaking as it is focused on issues that were already known about. But it has rightly identified economic crime as a major and rapidly-growing problem. It shines a spotlight on the problems that exist – problems that may become even more significant as the issue of Covid-related fraud becomes an increasing cause for concern.

“While the report expresses disappointment that the government has not yet implemented reform of corporate criminal liability, it acknowledges that the Law Commission has been given the task of reviewing the law in this area. While changes may be some time away, that issue is at least being addressed.

“It is interesting that the report talks of a “bewildering’’ range of agencies tackling economic crime and puts forward the idea that the government needs to consider whether there should be a single law enforcement agency with clear responsibilities and objectives to fight economic crime. This could be viewed as significant at a time when the Serious Fraud Office is having problems, not least because of the quashing of its Unaoil conviction and the subsequent review of its work being carried out by the Attorney General.

“But there have always been sound arguments as to why the SFO should not be part of a bigger organisation. And it should not be forgotten that the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) was created less than four years ago to bring together law enforcement agencies and other bodies to ensure there is a coordinated response to economic crime. As an organisation, it is promoting “joined-up thinking’’ between agencies that should – at least in theory – remove any need for one all-encompassing economic crime agency.”