Cost of economic crime doubled in Switzerland last year

The Swiss courts did not hear any more cases of fraud last year, but the sums involved were larger. © Ti-press

The damage caused by corporate crime doubled in 2019, costing the Swiss economy some CHF363 million ($384 million) compared to CHF166 million in 2018. While there were fewer documented cases in the courts, the average amount involved per incident escalated dramatically.

This content was published on July 6, 2020 - 15:01

The latest annual report on economic crime by KPMG found that the average amount stolen in each crime spiraled from CHF3.3 million in 2018 to CHF7.7 million last year.

The number of fraud cases in excess of CHF10 million rose from four in 2018 to nine last year. There was also a 30% increase in cases resulting in losses of between CHF1 million and CHF10 million.

Court records show that managers are among the most likely perpetrators of economic crime and are also capable of stealing the most money. Offences by managers resulted in CHF136 million worth of damage, compared to the CHF63 million stolen by lower ranks in the company.

Insiders were responsible for around half of the crimes committed at Swiss companies and more than half of the resultant financial damage.

Public institutions themselves were found at the losing end of these crimes more than any other category of victims, being ripped off to the tune of CHF144 million. Customers were also badly affected, losing CHF96 million to criminals.

Recorded crime against financial institutions nearly trebled last year to reach CHF43 million. But the figures are likely to represent just the tip of the iceberg, as many companies try to avoid reputation-damaging publicity when discovering that they are the victims of crime.

“Since experience has shown that many cases are not reported, the number of unreported cases is likely to be many times higher,” KMPG said.

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