Labour politicians were critical of the Conservative government’s fraud strategy. How will they tackle the problem?

It’s official. The general election in the UK is on July 4. As we head into the campaign, there is one thing all parties agree on: There is an epidemic of fraud in the UK. 

Fraud accounts for over 40% of all crime in England and Wales and research indicates that there could be another 25% increase in these crimes in the coming years if there is no effort to shift the way they are investigated, prosecuted and prevented. Fraud is linked to organised crime and terrorism and is widely recognised as a national security as well as a criminal justice issue.

During debates in the Commons, senior Labour politician Margaret Hodge pointed out the “eye-watering” estimate that £350bn a year is lost through fraud and money laundering. Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry criticised the Conservative government’s strategy for dealing with fraud stating that it “does not come anywhere close to what we need.”  

Continue reading

The UK’s general election on 4 July is expected to deliver a landslide victory to the opposition Labour Party. One of their key pledges around corporate governance concerns closing the gender pay gap, and expanding the ability of other groups affected by pay disparities, such as ethnic minority workers and disabled workers, to bring equal pay claims.

What is the current law around equal pay?

Under the Equality Act 2010, which incorporated the Equal Pay Act 1970, if an employee’s contractual terms, such as those relating to pay, are less favourable than a colleague of a different gender doing equivalent work, such terms are automatically modified to be no less favourable. This would come after the result of an equal pay claim. Where an employer is in breach of the sex equality provisions, an employee can bring an equal pay claim to an employment tribunal under different rules than a standard discrimination claim. Successful equal pay rulings mean people can claim arrears of pay going back up to six years in England and Wales and five years in Scotland. 

Continue reading

Despite the general election on 4 July, the UK is already going to get new sexual harassment laws. The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 will come into force in October 2024.

The Worker Protection Act 2023 is not as strong as Labour had wanted, but it does place some new duties on employers regarding their sexual harassment prevention policies and practices.

Continue reading

The international commodities trading company resolved a long-standing bribery case with the US DOJ 

Trafigura agreed to pay over $126 million to settle the US Department of Justice’s investigation into a case that involved employees and agents who wanted to secure business with Brazil’s state-owned and controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras). 

Between 2003 and 2014, Trafigura, which is headquartered in Switzerland, paid bribes to Petrobras officials in order to secure and maintain contracts with the oil company. Under the scheme, Trafigura, along with its co-conspirators, made illicit payments of up to 20 cents per barrel of oil products bought from or sold to Petrobras. The bribes were concealed in shell companies or funnelled through intermediaries who used offshore bank accounts to deliver cash to officials in Brazil. 

Continue reading

The global software giant agreed to a settlement with the US Department of Justice that is one of the largest of its kind

SAP, the German-based company, was charged with bribing government officials around the world and agreed to pay over $235m in one of the largest bribery settlements.

The company along with co-conspirators bribed South African and Indonesian foreign officials, providing cash, political contributions and wire transfers, along with luxury goods purchased during shopping trips. The goal was to obtain advantages for SAP in connection with various contracts with South African departments and agencies including Eskom Holdings Limited, a South African state-owned and state-controlled energy company.

The company also bribed government officials in Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Azerbaijan through third-party intermediaries and consultants it employed who paid bribes to obtain business with public sector customers in these countries. 

Continue reading

VinciWorks is giving away the Emergency Response package for all existing HE/FE clients

It’s a difficult time for universities and colleges. Campuses around the world have found themselves turned into the centre of wildcat protests. International instability has thrust growing numbers of higher and further education institutions into crisis mode as administrators worry about the futures of their students and institutions. 

Given recent events on campuses around the world, universities and colleges should be preparing emergency response plans. To support the higher and further education sector, VinciWorks are offering a free upgrade to our Emergency Response package for all HE/FE clients. 

Continue reading

World Password Day 

A recent cyber crime and security study showed that during the fourth quarter of 2023, data breaches exposed more than eight million records worldwide. Today is World Password Day, an annual event held on the first Thursday in May dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of strong password security practices, evolving threats, and promoting better password management habits for both organisations and individuals.

The day provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the increasingly dangerous and complex landscape of cybersecurity and consider whether traditional password-based authentication methods are still sufficient in today’s digital age. While passwords have long been the cornerstone of online security, the ever-growing sophistication of cyber threats calls for a paradigm shift towards more sophisticated and innovative approaches to safeguarding our digital identities.

Continue reading

The landmark regulation will require firms to mitigate their negative impact on human rights and the environment

The European Parliament passed the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). This means that the new regulation passed all the EU legislative phases. It is expected to be signed into law by the EU Council this summer, with EU member states given two years to transpose the rules into national laws.

To remain in compliance, companies will need to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence on their own operations, their subsidiaries and their supply chain. This applies to impacts that occur within or without the EU.

Enforcement is scheduled to begin in 2027 for companies with over 5,000 employees and annual turnover of more than €1.5 billion, in 2028 for companies with more than 3,000 employees and €900 million in turnover, and in 2029 for companies with more than 1,000 employees and €450 million in turnover. 

Continue reading

In a stunning rebuttal to the global financial crime watchdog the FATF, the European Parliament voted on Tuesday 23 April to keep the United Arab Emirates on the EU’s list of High Risk Third Countries. This will complicate due diligence efforts for regulated entities who may no longer be able to rely solely on the FATF grey list as the single source of truth for jurisdictions at high risk of financial crime. 

Continue reading

A trio of fines for money laundering breaches handed down by the SRA at the end of April 2024 have highlighted the dangers of non-compliance by smaller and medium sized law firms. The fines total over £45,000 and in each of the three cases, basic money laundering due diligence was not done, or the correct policies and procedures were not put in place.

The decisions come as the SRA flexes its new fining powers, with at least ten decisions on AML breaches in the first quarter of 2024 alone. These cases saw fines of almost £170,000. With the trio of fines in April, the average AML fine for a small or medium size d law firm falls between £10,000 to £25,000.

The cases revolved around a failure to property conduct due diligence on clients and third parties, and failing to properly assess matter risks. Due diligence wasn’t done on funds coming from other jurisdictions and enhanced due diligence wasn’t done, nor was due diligence completed before accepting funds, and firm AML policies controls and procedures were not fully in place. 

Continue reading