Financial Crime in the digital age

  • 07 February 2020


Panel of speakers at Anti-Money Laundering in the Digital Era Conference

On the 23rd January, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in collaboration with EY and Visa held a conference titled Anti-Money Laundering in the Digital Era: Building trust and ethics in AI to combat fraud and economic crimes.

Expert speakers at the conference included industry leaders, lawmakers and the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Richard Campbell, Detective Superintendent, Head of Special Investigations, PSNI Serious Crime Branch.

D/Supt Richard Campbell said, “Cybercrime is becoming more and more attractive to criminals. The accessibility that the online world creates allows criminals to commit crimes on a scale that was previously inconceivable. This raises a question of what role does the law enforcement have alongside the private sector in combatting cyber based fraud and economic crime. In addition to being reactive, law enforcement focuses significant resources towards a prevention and protection approach. The dilemma that organisations such as PSNI face is the demand for visible placing versus the need for specialist, often unseen, officers and staff working to keep people safe online – people want to see a police officer. There is a need for greater education of the  public on how cybercrime investigations. Looking beyond one organisation and building partnerships is key in being effective - much greater collaboration and cooperation is required between law enforcement and finance professionals. New technologies, such as Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning, can enable us to reduce opportunities for criminals and this crime type. The challenge for law enforcement in cybercrime is keeping pace with rapid development of technology. Any use of AI must also be underpinned by ethical values and practices, and economic crime is no exception. Privacy must be balanced with security, fairness and transparency if consumer trust is to be upheld.”

Other speakers at the event included Luděk Niedermayer, MEP, Jessica Lennard, Director of External Affairs, Data Science Lab, Visa Europe and Jason Piper, Head of Tax and Business Law, ACCA.  The speakers of the conference were united in stating that to combat fraud and economic crimes in the digital era, international cooperation and collaboration are essential. It was also stressed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is just a technological enabler and will continue to be only one dimension of fighting fraud which can complement existing methods of fraud detection and combat. The vital importance of the human factor was also highlighted: people still need to be trained and supporting processes, policies and frameworks need to be established.

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