Author:Barry Rider
Position:CIDOEC, Jesus College, Cambridge, UK
Cambridge symposium on economic crime
Over the past few years, governments and now the compliance industry appear to have
woken up to the practical imp ortance of nancial intelligence. Of course, the signicance of
knowing whopays for what and where they keep theirmoney was not lost on Nero, so thisis
nothing new. Indeed,at a meeting of ministers of justiceand senior law ofcers in Winnipeg,
Canada in 1977, concern was expressed about the vulnerability of, in particular, developing
and more fragile economies to the threat of serious economically motivated crime and
organised crime. Ministers expressed the view that in combating what was seen to be the
destabilising agenda of the increasingly isolated Republic of South Africa, more attention
need to be given to the economic aspects of crime. A major review of the then existing
arrangements for mutual legal assistance and co-operation between law enforcement and
other relevant agencies was commissioned by the British Government, Commonwealth
Secretariat and General Secretariat of ICPO-Interpol. The ndings and recommendations of
this review were received by Commonwealthministers and attorneys generalin Barbados in
May 1980. It was recognised that the then conventional mechanisms for co-operation were
inadequate in protecting vulnerableeconomies and merely police force to police force did not
work. Indeed, in many resources relevant to combating economically motivated crime were
outside the policeand consequently the Interpol network.As a direct result of this, a special
unit was established withinthe Commonwealth Secretariat,with full diplomaticimmunity, to
spearhead at an intelligence level the better collaboration and co-operation between not just
traditionalpolice agencies but all agenciesconcerned with promotingstability and security in
the context of economic crime and related activity. In many respects, this unit was the rst
nancialintelligence unit and certainlythe rst to operate at a supra-nationallevel.
In an attempt to bring together those individuals and organisations concerned with
promoting the prevention and disruptionof economic crime and especially organised crime,
a conference was organised with the support of the University of Cambridge in 1982, at
Jesus College, Cambridge. This was the rst Cambridge international symposium on
economic crime and was attended by 156 participants from 25 countries. The 35th
symposium took place in Jesus College, during the rst week of September 2017, and had
well over 1,800 participants from over 100 countries. Participants included ministers,
legislators, senior ofcials, regulators, law enforcement, intelligence and securitypersonnel,
diplomats, judges, prosecutors, academics and many in the business and nancial sectors
and those who professionally advise them. Last year, the symposium as its primary theme
questioned where in preventing and controlling economically motivated misconduct the
buck stopped. This year,the symposium questioned whether those responsible wereup to
the job. Of course, notwithstanding the importance of the overarching theme, over 50
specialist workshops focused on a wide range of other issues including, for example, legal
professional privilege, debarment regimes and big data. Over the past 35 years, there have
been numerous and signicant developments in all aspects of addressing the threats
presented by economic crime. However, one concern that repeatedly manifested itself
throughout this yearssymposium was the need for personal contacts, which couldfacilitate
trust and thus facilitate meaningful co-operation over and above all the developments that
have occurred in institutionalising mutual assistance and improving the efcacy and
integrity of communication. While perhaps gratifying for those who have been involved in
the symposia over the years, it is perhaps surprising that in many ways we have come full
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.25 No. 1, 2018
pp. 2-4
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-10-2017-0089

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