Economic Crime – the Cambridge International Symposium

fraud07:27 Monday 1st September 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[D]OTTY MCLEOD: Over a thousand of the world’s top experts on economic crime will be coming together in Cambridge today. The Cambridge International Symposium will see diplomats, judges and prosecutors gathering at Jesus College. In the past the annual event has led to changes in international policing, and changes in the law. Joining me now is the founder of the Symposium, Professor Barry Rider. Morning Barry.
BARRY RIDER: Good morning.
DOTTY MCLEOD: What exactly do we mean by economic crime? What comes under that heading?

BARRY RIDER: Well we take rather a broad definition, and what we’re really interested in is criminal activity and misconduct which has economic implications, or financial implications. So it’s very broad. people traffic drugs to make money. People traffic people to make money.So what we’re really doing is focusing on the financial aspects.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Has it become easier to be an economic criminal, when technology now is so advanced, now everyone does online banking?
BARRY RIDER: Well this is actually our thirty second annual conference, and we focus on a whole variety of topics each year. But this year we really are focusing on technology, and technology both as a sword and a shield; the abuse of information, particularly in data, but also the way that we can improve flow of information and the quality of analysis of information, to be able to disrupt criminal activity.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Is there a way around it? because it seems as if as soon as some new technology is put in place to protect against this kind of thing, immediately someone has worked out a way to get round it.
BARRY RIDER: Well yes. I think sometimes we perhaps have a wrong impression of criminals, particularly organised crime. Organised crime in many countries has more power, more influence that the agencies set against it. So they are going to be on the cutting edge of technology. One of the issues that we look at every year is money laundering. And of course the way people launder money has changed dramatically over the years. And generally speaking, those engaged in these sophisticated activities have resources and indeed perhaps experience and knowledge way beyond law enforcement.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And Cambridge is right at the centre of all of these efforts.
BARRY RIDER: Well it has been. Yes. Over the years we’ve been a precursor to a number of major initiatives.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And this symposium of course happening here in Cambridge, what kind of people are coming along today?
BARRY RIDER: Well a range, right across the board. We’ve got Alexander Lebedev the newspaper owner speaking this evening, Sir Paul Judge who of course founded the Judge Business School, also we’ve got the ombudsman from Nigeria, we’ve got our Attorney General, so really a very broad spectrum of people.
DOTTY MCLEOD: What could be done to help the police tackle this kind of crime? What should be done?
BARRY RIDER: Well I think like in so many areas of policing today the police don’t and can’t stand alone, particularly in the area of technology. I think this is really where the Symposium has made quite a contribution over the years, recognising that many of these issues require involvement of people in business, but in other areas. We’ve got a very significant level of participation for example from the intelligence services and the security services, who of course are very much involved, particularly in regard to terrorist threats.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So sort of spies.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Can you always spot the spies in the room?
BARRY RIDER: Well they don’t usually turn up for the group photograph. (THEY LAUGH)
DOTTY MCLEOD: Professor Barry Rider, the founder of the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime. It’s taking place today in Cambridge, at Jesus College.