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"Financial crisis spurs economic crime"

A study on economic crime in Switzerland says 29 per cent of companies surveyed see a greater risk of fraud in the current economic climate.

The report from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers says that "rather surprisingly" only 17 per cent of the Swiss companies surveyed reported being the target of economic fraud in the past 12 months.

"We believe that the figures reported by our respondents are just the tip of the iceberg," the survey authors said.

It added: "There is a grim possibility that fraud is going undetected in Swiss companies and therefore is not represented within the 17 per cent figure reported."

The company said previous surveys reported higher occurrences of fraud (37 per cent in 2007) as they included incidences that happened over a two-year period. Therefore it was not possible to make a comparison with the 2009 figure.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said one reason for the findings that might have had an impact was that companies had reduced their budgets for compliance and other internal operation functions due to the economic crisis.

The survey noted that of the respondents who had experienced economic crime, most were from the financial services.

It also said respondents who had experienced fraud had dismissed 55 per cent of the individuals concerned and almost a quarter brought either civil actions or criminal charges against them.

These results showed that Swiss companies were not turning a blind eye to staff committing internal fraud but were actually doing something about it, the study said.

swissinfo.ch


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