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KPMG study

Senior executives commit half of Swiss corporate crime

Around 55% of all reported white-collar crime in Switzerland is committed by senior management, a KPMG survey estimates.

Corporate fraud is typically carried out by men (82% of cases) who are aged 46-55 years old and work for the organisation (64%), the consultancy firm’s latest Forensics study revealed on Tuesday.

An estimated 55% of the perpetrators are members of senior management and over one-third have been working for the firm for at least six years (2013: 41%).

The main drivers are personal financial gain to fund their lifestyle (64% of cases), greed (18%) and a sense that the crime could be easily committed (18%), the report said.

Philippe Fleury, head of corporate crime at KPMG Switzerland, said the alpine nation was ranked in third place with 20 major cases last year. In total, the consultancy identified 750 cases of corporate crime in 78 countries.

Fleury added the potential for misuse was rising with technological advances and businesses were doing little in terms of using technology to curb criminal activities.

“Given that the use of technology in white-collar crime will continue to rise, employing threat-monitoring systems and data analytics to detect anomalous or suspicious behaviour at an early stage is a must for organisations in today’s world,” he warned.

Of all of the cases of technology-enabled fraud investigated in Switzerland, 27% concerned false or misleading information in accounting records and 27% related to fraudulent e-mails.

Another 9% involved the abuse of existing access rights to computer systems.

For 64% of all fraudsters, weak internal controls are a key factor that is gaining importance, KPMG said.

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