Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

You can hardly open a newspaper or switch on the news without being bombarded with dire prognostications about the state of the economy and comparisons with the early 1990s and previous recessions. What these earlier periods, certainly the early 1990s, also featured was a boom in fraud, with spectacular corporate collapses such as that of the Maxwell empire, the Bank of Credit & Commerce International and Polly Peck to name but a few, linked to allegations of large-scale asset misappropriation and financial reporting fraud, some of which led to criminal convictions for the perpetrators. It was also a time of some breathtaking investor fraud schemes. So has anything changed, and are we more or less exposed to these risks now than we were then?

Certainly, there has been a raft of new legislation and regulation since those bad old days and the regulatory landscape has changed dramatically. The law around pension fund protection, investment business, auditing and financial statements, internal control, insider trading, market manipulation, money laundering and the proceeds of crime have all been overhauled. We now, finally, have a definition of fraud in English law, enshrined in the Fraud Act 2006, though the full impact of this is yet to be seen. Standards of corporate governance have undoubtedly improved, at least on paper. There is also a greater general awareness – at least in the corporate sphere – of the risks, driven in part by the increasingly onerous nature of directors’ legal responsibilities and the weight of regulation.

And yet, the same old drivers of fraud live on and some of the motivating incentives and pressures will tend to be magnified, as in the past, in a time of economic uncertainty and financial stress. For example:

This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.


  • Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
  • Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
  • Unique access to ALM's unrivalled, market-leading reporting in the US and Asia and cutting-edge research, including Legal Week's UK Top 50 and Global 100 rankings
  • The Legal Week Daily News Alert, Editor's Highlights, and Breaking News digital newsletters and more, plus a choice of over 70 ALM newsletters
  • Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles

Already have an account?

For enterprise-wide or corporate enquiries, please contact Paul Reeves on Preeves@alm.com or call on +44 (0) 203 875 0651


Legal Week Newsletters & Alerts

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your subscription, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters and alerts. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2019 American Lawyer Media International, LLC. All Rights Reserved.