White-collar crime in Switzerland causes losses in the billions

in Advisory, 22.02.2017

The most recent “KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer” shows that Swiss courts tried 57 cases of white-collar crime in 2016. While this might be significantly fewer cases than the year before, the total losses exceeded CHF 1.4 billion, a record high since KPMG began gathering data. The average loss incurred by investors was CHF 165 million while losses in cases involving the federal government came to CHF 13 million on average.

Public sector and investors hit hardest

Investors (both private and institutional) were the hardest-hit group of victims in 2016. Total losses within this group came to around CHF 1.16 billion which also translates to the highest average loss per incident, namely CHF 165 million. These cases frequently featured independent asset managers and foreign currency dealers as perpetrators.

The second-highest total loss of around CHF 159 million was reported in the public sector. Here, however, the average per-case loss was comparatively low at CHF 13 million. In the previous year, private individuals and non-commercial organizations suffered most as a result of white-collar crime.

Biggest threat posed by executive management

Professional and simple fraud were the most frequent white-collar crimes reported in the past year. The perpetrators were often motivated by a desire to finance an extravagant lifestyle (13 cases) or to avert their own company’s bankruptcy (7 cases).

By virtue of their positions and the greater freedom afforded them, executives pose the greatest threat within a company: Members of senior management were solely responsible for these crimes in 58% of all cases and cooperated with other employees in another 21% of the cases.

These new figures demonstrate the enormous damage potential of white-collar crime, particularly when committed by in-house groups of perpetrators and especially members of senior management. Accordingly, active preventive measures within the organizations are all the more vital.

Numbers at a glance

(click infographic to enlarge)

 

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