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Economic crime Reported white-collar crime falls in Switzerland

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KPMG said last year’s decline did not necessarily mean economic crime had fallen in Switzerland.


Swiss courts dealt with 50 major cases of economic crime in 2018 amounting to CHF166 million ($164 million) in losses, the consultancy firm KPMG said on Tuesday. But it believes the number of unreported cases remains “high”.

The number of documented cases was down by nine compared to 2017 and well below the record peak (91) in 2015. The financial losses due to white-collar crime last year mark a significant drop relative to the CHF1.4 billion in losses registered in 2016.

KPMG said in a statement on Tuesday that external linklast year’s decline did not necessarily mean economic crime had fallen in Switzerland. Indeed, reported figures have fluctuated significantly over recent years. 

“No general decrease in white-collar crime in Switzerland can be reliably inferred on the basis of this decline,” it said. “KPMG’s statistics only include those court cases which were tried in public and reported in the media. Since experience has shown that the vast majority of these crimes are never even reported, it can be assumed that the number of unreported cases is high.” 

The consultancy firm said most of last year’s recorded offences were committed by professional fraudsters. But managers and employees had managed to defraud CHF94 million.

Investors were the biggest losers, incurring CHF47 million in losses, followed by public institutions.

Most recorded cases were dealt with by courts in the financial hub of Zurich (18 cases amounting to CHF25 million) or northeast Switzerland (14 worth CHF57 million), while French-speaking Switzerland had 10 cases worth CHF31 million. 

The information was published in the annual “KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer”, which covers all Swiss court cases tried in public and reported in the media during the year. Data was compiled from over 3,000 relevant newspaper articles in 2018.

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