Fraud? The boss probably did it.

Most cases of fraud come from the top.

Analysis of the levels of fraud among UK businesses show that although the value of fraud cases dropped significantly in the first half of 2012, most cases are still committed by management

According to figures from KPMG, fraud figures fell from £1.1bn in the first half of 2011 to just £374m in the same period this year. However, most cases tend to come from within organisations, with 55 per cent of the total perpetrated by finance directors, chief executives and other senior managers. Only 6 per cent of cases came from employees.

The large drop in the levels of fraud was attributed to fewer “super fraud” cases.

Hitesh Patel, UK forensic partner at KPMG, said, "The extent and impact of fraud perpetrated from within businesses has historically been masked by a handful of exceptionally large cases coming to court, but the fall in such "super" cases now shines a spotlight on the chronic and pernicious threat to businesses in these austere times."

One case highlighted by the research involved a former head of counter-fraud operations at a bank, who committed procurement fraud worth £2.4m for personal benefit.

"The value lost through management fraud shows graphically that businesses need to ensure controls are more than simply trust where senior members of staff are concerned; an effective anti-fraud regime applies to all, not just to more junior staff."

This article first appeared in Economia

Photograph: Getty Images

Helen Roxburgh is the online editor of Economia

Photo: Getty Images
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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.