White-collar crime cost country less in 2010

Losses caused by white collar crime fell dramatically last year to SFr365 million ($381 million) from SFr1.5 billion in 2009, according to figures released on Monday.

This content was published on January 24, 2011 - 13:58 and agencies

Professional services group KPMG said the high total in 2009 was largely attributable to the biggest case of organised crime and money laundering ever to have been brought to trial in Switzerland.

The case concerned a cigarette mafia and went before the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona.

KPMG’s Forensic Fraud Barometer noted that another possible reason for the decline was that affected companies were increasingly reaching damage restitution agreements with employees who committed the crimes and not pressing charges.

This enabled firms to resolve problems “quickly, economically and discreetly”, a company statement said. A total of 52 cases of white-collar crime were brought before Swiss courts in 2010, compared with 57 the year before.

During the period under review, the greatest damage was suffered by investors, with losses totalling SFr130 million. Financial institutions had been the hardest hit in 2009 with SFr287 million in damage.

“The slight decline in the loss amount compared to previous years might be surprising at first glance,” commented Anne van Heerden of KPMG Switzerland.

“Yet despite the lower monetary value, we still shouldn’t underestimate the immense economic damage caused by white-collar crime nor its social components. Retirees lose their savings and employees lose their jobs.”

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