Themis Celebrates the Unsung Heroes Tackling Financial Crime

  • Security
  • 27.03.2021 11:12 am

Financial crime is big business. In fact over £1.6 trillion in illicit funds are laundered globally every year, through a range of complex transactions and against a backdrop of destructive crimes, from fraud, cyber crime, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption to the more hidden crimes such as trafficking in drugs, arms, people or wildlife.

Fraud costs businesses £3.9 trillion a year, whereas nearly £1.5 trillion is lost globally due to corruption. Financial crime of all types threatens all of us on an individual level, but it can also cause massive business disruption, rattle our economy and endanger national security.

Who hasn’t been the victim of those malicious text messages asking us to hand over personal details? It is so easy to do and can be deeply embarrassing and hard to admit, even to our nearest and dearest. The same is true for businesses who can be caught out by sophisticated invoice frauds, or have their staff or customer data stolen and sold for nefarious purposes on the deep or dark web.

Worryingly, things are not getting any better. According to an annual poll conducted by Themis, over half of businesses surveyed said they had been exposed to some form of financial crime over the past year, and 70% felt the threats had actually increased in this time period. It seems criminal organisations have spotted a loophole and are using the pandemic for their gain.

On Tuesday 23rd March, Themis announced the winners of their annual anti-financial crime awards, celebrating the sung and unsung heroes who are working day in day out behind the scenes to fight financial crime and protect people and businesses from the harmful impacts that serious and organised crime and criminal actors can have on people, businesses and our national interests.

Nominations have been coming in over the last 6 months from members of the public and across a wide range of organisations across the private and public sector. To ensure fairness and transparency, the winners were decided by an independent panel of judges from The University of West of England, BIE Executive, RedCompass, SnowDrop, Fiserv, The Senate, Evolution AI, Glasswall and the London Institute of Banking and Finance.

The winners of the 2021 awards are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Dame Sara Thornton, UK Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner

  • Trailblazer Award - Blair Glencorse, Founder of the Accountability Lab.

  • Anti-Bribery & Corruption Award - David McHembere - Head of Ethics & Integrity at the Kenya Ports Authority.

  • AFC Innovation - JOINT WINNERS

    • Nick Dale, SuperIntendent - West Midlands Police

    • RedCompass Labs

  • MLRO of the Year - Josie Preston, Group MLRO EMEA at Caesars Entertainment EMEA

  • Public Sector Pioneer - Andrew Wallis OBE, CEO Unseen

  • The Speak Up Award - Martin Woods - Independent Financial Crime Consultant

  • Strides Against Money Laundering - Professor Nicholas Ryder, University of West of England

  • Fraud Prevention Award - Sujata Dasgupta, Global Head - Financial Crimes Compliance Advisory, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

  • Prevention of Illegal Wildlife Trade - Chinali Patel, International Illicit Finance Policy lead at British Consulate General Hong Kong

  • Corporate Culture Award - Frank Adamson, Caesars Entertainment

  • Combating Modern Slavery - AllianceBernstein

Matthew Deacon, Themis’ CTO commented on the awards: “21st century criminals are often scarily tech-savvy. They will use a whole range of different innovative tools and techniques to steal and hide our data, our identities or our hard-earned money. They’ll create deep fakes, deploy ransomware and exploit cryptocurrencies.;

What does this mean for us in financial crime prevention? It means we need to innovate tirelessly and creatively to ensure we remain one step ahead of the criminals.”

Dickon Johnstone, CEO of Themis added “It’s been such a challenging year for many, so we are really glad to be able to celebrate these amazing champions of our industry, who so often go unsung, or unmerited at the expense of business targets.

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