Author:Barry Rider
Position:University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Unexplained wealth
The Cambridge Symposium on economic crime, now in its 36th successive year, has
established itself as perhaps the leading international non-governmental forum for the
analysis and discussion of issues related, in the broadest sense, to the prevention,
interdiction and management of economically motivated crime and misconduct. It was
originally conceived as a vehicle for bringing together those with an interest in the
protection of their economies and economic actors from the threats of economic crime.
Countries whether developed,developing or in transition all experience the consequences of
economically motivated misconduct, albeit manifesting in rather different ways. While
business vehicles have always been susceptible to misuse in the furtherance of fraud and
other forms of misconduct, with the emphasis that is now placed on attacking the value
incentive of acquisitive crime, through laws seeking to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten
advantages, the risk to the nancial and business sectors, in being inveigled willingly or
otherwise into the reach of the criminal law, is so much greater. Indeed, as traditional law
enforcement agencies and prosecutors have come to terms with the profound difculties
confronting them in securing convictions and have increasingly explored other avenues
such as intelligence led disruption and the utilisation of weapons across the legal and
regulatory spectra the risks for those who manage and invest in business become all the
more acute and unpredictable. Indeed, purely in terms of legal consequence the threat of
swinging nancial penaltiesimposed on a nancial intermediary for a failure of compliance,
are likely to be far more real in most societiesthan bringing as Lord Justice Roskill once put
it the perpetrators of serious fraud expeditiously and effectively to book!In the result, in
the world of today, whether we volunteer, we are all in some measure bound into the ght
against economicallyrelevant misconduct. Indeed, we all have a stake in the outcome.
Consequently, in recent years, the symposium has attracted participation from not only
those involved in more traditional law enforcement but also politicians, judges, diplomats,
regulators, ofcialsin intelligence and security organisations, academics and those involved
in business, particularly compliance and those who advise them. The annual symposium
has traditionally been hosted by Jesus College within the University of Cambridge, but it is
supported by a large number of academic, research and professional organisations
throughout the world. It also enjoys the supportof a number of key UK agencies such as the
Serious Fraud Ofce, Crown Prosecution Service, National Crime Agency, Metropolitan
Police and City of London Police. The blend of institutionsand bodies that come together in
this manner is unique and provides a platform that is sufciently multi-disciplinary to
properly address at many levels the risks that face our economies and in particular
nancial institutions.
While the symposium attracted this year almost 2,000 participants from over 100
countries as it is organised on a non-prot making basis with only a proportion of paying
delegates, it is dependent on the generosity of sponsors. Indeed, notwithstanding the high
level of interest in the nancial institutions and within the compliance industry it is
surprising how unwilling these institutions are in practice to cover even the direct costs of
those they send to Cambridge. Thisyear, as in previous years, notwithstanding all the well
know banks and other nancial institutions vying to present and exhibit their expertise,
there were more registered paying delegates from Fiji than from the whole of the UK
nancial sector! It is difcult to reconcile this in the minds of many with the rhetoric from
Journalof Money Laundering
Vol.22 No. 1, 2019
pp. 2-4
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JMLC-09-2018-0060

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