Published date03 January 2022
Date03 January 2022
Subject MatterAccounting & finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
AuthorBarry Rider OBE
Still at the stumps!
Believe it or not there was a time not too long ago, when largely informal networks
actually provided a surprisingly effective system between agencies for at least prevention
and minimisation of harm caused by criminals, albeit rarely leading to court proceedings.
The remnants of empire and the heritageof various initiatives duringand after the wars left
a relatively rich tapestryacross the world of tolerably like-minded souls who were prepared
to do their bit. Whether defunct spies,minor merchant adventurers or simply retired district
off‌icer types, these variously willing and competent individuals in an almost boysown
manner were often only too ready to respond to an albeit fading sense of what was
patriotically the correct thing to do. As the cold war became colder in some places, these
remnants were organisedinto interesting initiatives often rathermore committed and able to
hold things together than the new governments. Sanctions against South Africa resulted in
state sponsored sanctions busting and the moving of many aspects of what we would
consider to be economic crime to new levels.The frontline states increasing became victims
of activity that deliberatelytargeted their economic viability. It also becameclearer with the
faltering of banking structures close to the USSR, particularly in Hong Kong, that state
sponsored economicmisconduct was not conf‌ined to BOSS in Pretoria.
Commonwealth governments, meeting in Winnipeg in 1977, recognised that police force
to police force action was inadequate to address these threats, and still, in many countries,
the intelligence agencies almost did not exist for many off‌icial purposes. Interpol, to the
extent it did anything constructive, appeared to prioritise the concerns of Northern
European police forces. Law Ministers, meeting in Barbados in 1979, accepted the
recommendationscontained in two reports and established an agencyto work closely with
the General Secretariat of Interpol and with the benef‌it of diplomatic status throughout the
Commonwealth assist in the disruption of economically relevant crime. With a network of
off‌icial liaison off‌icers extending well beyond the Commonwealth and including countries
such as the USA, Indonesia and even Taiwan, it was years before its time and this was
probably its nemesis. Witha small expert central staff supplementedfrom other agencies, it
was primarily concerned with developing intelligence from off‌icial and unoff‌icial sources
including what remained of the colonial old boysnetworkand within the law acting
proactively to minimise the impact of economic and, after the Law Minister meeting in Sri
Lanka in 1983, organised crime.
Although this initiativeran for only a decade, it gave birth to the Cambridge Symposium
on Economic Crime, which has just held its 38th annual symposium at Jesus College,
Cambridge. To strengthen its network and as it turned out ratherforlornly in an attempt to
generate greater interest within the international academy, the symposium was launched
some 39 years ago, with the support of the University of Cambridgeamong many others, to
promote independent, informed discussion and strengthen understanding and thereby
facilitate co-operation.The symposium before the pandemic regularly attracted nearly 2,000
policy makers, diplomats, judges, regulators, law enforcement, security and intelligence
personnel together with f‌inancial institutions and their professional advisers with the odd
academic or two. Last year the programme was postponed, although a series of
presentations were placed on the organising institutions website www.crimesymposium.
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.29 No. 1, 2022
pp. 1-3
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-01-2022-262

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