Government launches new taskforce to combat economic crime

The government has launched a new economic crime taskforce, which will work to combat fraud, bribery, money laundering and corruption.

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The government estimates that economic crime costs the UK ‘at least’ £14.4 billion per year. In order to tackle this type of crime, a new Economic Crime Strategic Board will be created, and will be chaired by both Chancellor Philip Hammond and the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid.

In order to set priorities, direct resources and scrutinise performance against the threat of economic crime, the Economic Crime Strategic Board intends to meet twice a year. The Board includes chief executives from the UK’s largest banking institutions, as well as representatives from trade association UK Finance and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Commenting on the taskforce, the Chancellor said: ‘The UK is leading the world in the fight against illicit finance, preventing fraudsters from stealing billions from the public each year.

‘By bringing together specialists across the public and private sector, we can use the best of our expertise to maintain our status as a global financial centre.’

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Accountants play ‘vital role’ in reducing corruption, study suggests

Research published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has suggested that accountants play an important role in helping to reduce corruption levels.

The IFAC’s study, which was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), revealed that the higher the number of accountants in a workforce, the lower the overall level of corruption.

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Accountants also have a greater impact in nations with stronger governance structures, the study highlighted.

However, the IFAC also recognised business leaders, the government and the financial sector as being key to combating corruption, alongside the accountancy profession.

Fayez Choudhury, Chief Executive Officer of the IFAC, commented: ‘The study confirms that the accountancy profession is a crucial part of strong national governance architectures that confront corruption, in partnership with good government and strong businesses.

‘And vitally, the study shows professional ethics, education and oversight – at the core of the global accountancy profession – are key to our positive impact in tackling corruption.’