International - Written by on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 6:54 - 0 Comments

11,141: The number of Suspicious Activity Reports to the UK authorities involving corruption in 2012

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That’s a lot.

Last year total Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) received by the Serious Organised Crime Agency increased by 31,000 from 247,601 in 2011 to 278,665 says the annual report of the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on Suspicious Activity Reports for 2012.  We reported on last year’s report here.

The report goes on to say that SARs including suspicions of corruption involving politically exposed persons dropped from 13,623 to 11,141.  This drop probably reflects an exceptional year in 2011 with the Arab Spring uprisings causing a higher than normal number of associated disclosures.

133 intelligence packages related to corruption were disseminated.

For those unfamiliar with the UK regime, broadly speaking, under the UK SAR system reports of suspicious criminal activity are sent to SOCA broadly because an organization is obliged to do so, because failure to do so would be an offence or because the reporter wishes to report voluntarily.

A key purpose of the SAR regime is to enable law enforcement in the UK to gather intelligence about suspected wrongdoing which can then be shared with relevant interested parties – for example the relevant law enforcement agency in the UK or elsewhere.

The regime (under which voluntary disclosures can be made) is bolstered by the stick of potential criminal liabilities for those who do not report suspicions in appropriate circumstances.  For those worried if they might fall into this category.  Take legal advice…

In other news, the report reveals that the International Corruption and Asset Recovery Team (ICART) which previously had responsibility for producing strategic and tactical intelligence products to improve tactical delivery and intervention against foreign Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and overseas bribery has been been reconfigured as the International Corruption Intelligence Cell (ICIC).

ICIC was created in June and is funded by the Department for International Development (DfID).  No coincidence then that we reported earlier this week on the increasing importance of DfID in the context of the fight against overseas corruption.

ICIC has been given the responsibility of improving the tactical intelligence available to law enforcement in the fight against international corruption where it impacts on UK interests. This could occur in a number of guises including ranging from the involvement or disadvantage of UK nationals and companies through to the misuse of UK government aid.

The report says that SOCA data will contribute to this process through intelligence development and financial investigation.

The focus on intelligence development and financial investigation ties into the public statements of SFO Director David Green who has also gone on the record on the agencies increased use of intelligence.  It is anticipated that SOCA (which is to be merged into the new National Crime Agency) and the SFO will be even more joined up in the future.

The raison d’etre of the SOCA SAR regime is the collection and sharing of information relating to suspected criminal wrongdoing.

The statistics speak for themselves.


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