News and Analysis

The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator.   Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.

 


 

Gone in 15 seconds: why faster bank transfers make Australia and even bigger target for email fraud – 19 October 2017

Concerns have been raised over the potential increase in business email compromise (BEC) fraud attacks that could result from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP), due to be implemented in January. The near real-time funds transfer will mean that funds could disappear from accounts before victims even realise they have been targeted.

https://www.cso.com.au/article/628854/gone-15-seconds-why-faster-bank-transfers-make-australia-an-even-bigger-target-email-fraud/

Former Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese, ex-CFO Guy Elliott charged with fraud by SEC – 19 October 2017

Mining giant Rio Tinto and two of its former executives have been charged with fraud, after it was discovered they allegedly inflated the value of coal assets acquired in 2011. The CEO and CFO failed to follow accounting policies and comply with company policies, and have been charged with violating the anti-fraud, reporting, books and records and internal control provisions of the federal securities law. 

http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/former-rio-tinto-ceo-tom-albanese-excfo-guy-elliott-charged-with-fraud-by-sec-20171017-gz2zhi.html

Boris Trajkov, ‘Captain’ of childcare centre spent $300,000 of charity’s money on alcohol and lingerie – 17 October 2017

76 year old Boris Trajkov has been ordered by a court to repay more than $1 million dollars after spending funds from a charity he helped found on alcohol and lingerie. The organisation also operated a childcare centre, for which Trajkov received payments in cash, failing to bank majority of the funds and pay childcare staff.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-17/boris-trajkov-spent-childcare-centre-money-on-alcohol-lingerie/9055146?WT.ac=statenews_vic

Study: Whistleblower rewards programs discourage whistleblowers – 11 October 2017

A recent study has suggested that financial incentives for whistleblowing can delay reports of fraud, by hijacking the moral motivation to do the right thing. Furthermore, the study also found that such rewards can distort the reporting process.

http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2017/10/11/study-whistleblower-reward-programs-discourage-whistleblower.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+fcpablog%2FsLbh+%28The+FCPA+Blog%29

Adanis tax haven ties to the British Virgin Islands have been revealed – 3 October 2017

The ABC’s Four Corners has uncovered Adani Group’s Australian operations tax haven ties, discovering that many key assets are owned in the British Virgin Islands. The company’s filings with AISIC fail to mention a company registered in the Islands, giving the group opportunities to fraudulently minimise their tax payments.. 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-02/adanis-tax-haven-ties-to-british-virgin-islands-revealed/9007714

Cyber security specialist shortages could leave Australia vulnerable to attack, experts say – 27 September 2017

The Australian government has estimated a need for over 11,000 cyber security specialists over the next 10 years. Experts believe meeting this demand will involve collaboration between the government and private sector, as well as the integration of cyber security into the school curriculum. 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-27/cyber-security-specialist-shortage-leaves-australia-vulnerable/8991776

Former RSL NSW President Don Rowe admits to public inquiry he misused charity money – 20 September 2017

A former RSL president of NSW has admitted to using the charity’s funds for personal expenses, such as mobile phones, flights for his family and his own mortgage expenses. He confirmed that his 2014 resignation was indeed due to this misconduct, and not so-called ill health as he claimed at the time.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-18/former-rsl-nsw-president-admits-to-misuse-of-charitys-money/8957590

Swiss shutdown ‘fake’ E-coin in latest cryptocurrency crackdown – 19 September 2017

Following the closure of several Beijing-based cryptocurrency exchanges by Chinese authorities, Switzerland’s financial watchdog has opened investigations into a range of similar potential fraud cases. The FINMA shut down the Quid Pro Quo association, after finding they had accumulated at least 4 million Swiss francs from several hundred users of the E-coin.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-cryptocurrency/swiss-shut-down-fake-e-coin-in-latest-cryptocurrency-crackdown-idUSKCN1BU0ZT

Nant whisky founder’s wife to be interviewed by ASIC over failed investment schemes – 14 September 2017

Margarat Batt, wife of Nant whiskey founder Keith Batt and current company director is set to be interviewed by the ASIC, as part of an ongoing investigation into investment schemes conducted by Batt in both the whiskey business and angus cattle business. The schemes involve selling products to investors, with a promise to later repurchase with generous yearly return.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-14/nant-whisky-founders-wife-asic-interview-over-failed-schemes/8942832

Stuart Robert’s family links to private company winning government contracts – 13 September 2017

Questions have been raised over the circumstances in which Stuart Robert won his place in parliament in previous elections, amidst claims of misconduct regarding the transfer of shares and director position of his company, GMT. Between 2007 and 2010, the company had 356 government contracts, and it is possible that this may have breached section 44 of the constitution, which forbids MPs from profiting from the Commonwealth.

http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/stuart-roberts-family-links-to-private-company-winning-government-contracts-20170905-gyb6sq.html

Here’s how much access the Australian police have to your data – 11 September 2017

The Australian government is seeking greater intelligence power, though backdoor access to encrypted messaging services, claiming this will give them better capabilities when it comes to preventing terrorism. This has sparked discussions about the current level of access law enforcement agencies have into our data, and how it is used.  

http://www.theage.com.au/technology/consumer-security/heres-how-much-access-australian-police-already-have-to-your-data-20170910-gyeq6g.html

AIPI National Conference 2017 – 8 September 2017

The AIPI National conference took place in Melbourne, on Thursday September 7. This year, the conference theme was technology enabled financial crime, which covered aspects such as prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and reparation. A topic seemingly appropriate in light of the increasing threat technology continues to pose to Australian organisations.

To read more about what was presented, please click here:

http://www.aipi.asn.au/2017-aipi-national-conference/

 

Trial of Former Tesco executives adjourned to September 25th – 4 September 2017

Three former Tesco executives will face trial at the end of the month after being accused of fraud and false accounting. All three men pleaded not guilty to the accusations at a hearing in August, following an overstatement of Tesco’s profit forecast in 2014. The trial is expected to last 10-12 weeks.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/04/reuters-america-update-1-trial-of-former-tesco-executives-adjourned-to-sept-25.html

Inside the Bitcoin-fuelled ‘ICO’ bubble – 1 September 2017

The rise in value of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin has led to the introduction of a range of rival, imitator currencies across the globe, including in Australia. Companies are now offering ICO’s (initial coin offerings) – essentially the same as an IPO, but with digital tokens on offer, rather than small pieces of business ownership.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/markets/inside-the-bitcoinfuelled-ico-bubble-20170831-gy7sok.html

Matthew Guy: IBAC won’t investigate lobster dinner with alleged mafia boss – 31 August 2017

Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog has claimed it does not have the power to investigate the now infamous ‘lobster dinner’ that Matthew Guy attended earlier this year. Although Guy referred himself to the IBAC, the information provided does not fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction, and therefore they would struggle to launch an investigation.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/ibac-will-not-investigate-matthew-guy-over-lobster-dinner/8858424

Commonwealth Bank facing APRA Probe – 28 August 2017

APRA Chairman Wayne Byres has announced a public inquiry into CBAs culture, governance and accountability frameworks. The probe follows the recent allegations that Commonwealth Bank had breached a number of anti-money laundering laws. The inquiry will be undertaken by an independent panel, and is expected to take about six months. 

http://www.theage.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/commonwealth-bank-facing-apra-probe-20170827-gy5ck7.html

Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loan – 18 August 2017

The Adani corporation has been accused of allegedly inflating invoices for an electricity project in India to move large sums of money into offshore bank accounts. The company has denied the allegations, however a legal decision is expected to be reaching in the “near future”. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/16/adani-mining-giant-faces-financial-claims-as-it-bids-for-australian-coal-loan

Turnbull plans law to force tech giants to decrypt messages – 15 August 2017

The Australian federal government has announced the proposal of a new law, forcing global tech giants to assist police by unscrambling encrypted messages sent by suspected extremists and other criminals. The bill is expected to be introduced at Parliament by November this year.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/turnbull-plans-law-to-force-tech-giants-to-decrypt-messages/news-story/8d94646950f179b7064d60af5e2493fa

Ransomware victims payout almost $32 Million over the last two years, a study has found – 13 August 2017

Researchers at Google, Chainalysis, The University of San Diego and New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering have recently revealed the monetary cost of ransomware attacks. The study identifies a strain named “Locky” as the most financially devastating, but also references more common strains such as Petya and WannaCry.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/ransomware-victims-pay-out-almost-32-million-over-the-last-two-years-a-study-has-found/news-story/0bc5bf1a6c7f93c975b8447acc4f83c1

 

Lobster plot: Alleged Mafia boss promised post-dinner donation of ‘swag of money’ – 11 August 2017

An investigation into a dinner between Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy and an alleged Mafia boss has been launched by Four Corners and Fairfax Meida after obtaining a series of phone records.

It is alleged that the men were plotting to funnel a large party donation into smaller amounts, so that the donation could not be traced back to the source.

Guy has since referred the matter himself to Victoria’s anti-corruption commission, IBAC, claiming no illegal actions have been taken.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/lobster-plot-alleged-mafia-boss-promised-postdinner-donation-of-swag-of-money-20170808-gxrz7i.html

Austrac alleges CBA in ‘serious’ breach of money laundering act – 4 August 2017

Austrac has alleged that The Commonwealth Bank has breached money laundering laws after failing to report a number of large cash transactions made through intelligent money machines.

This included six instances where the bank believed customers were possibly financing terrorism.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/austrac-alleges-cba-in-serious-breach-of-money-laundering-act-20170803-gxoirw.html

AFP hunts Australian dark net users after sites taken down – 28 July 2017

The AFP has received a trove of information about anonymous users following the closure of two of the biggest dark net marketplaces. Anonymous users use sites similar to the now closed AlphaBay and Hansa to sell online banking details and steal money from the accounts. Other uses include the buying and selling of illicit substances and drugs, an activity that is on the rise in the Australian marketplace.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-25/afp-on-hunt-for-aussie-dark-net-users-after-sites-taken-down/8740852

$5 million in bogus invoices: ICAC finds former Botany Bay CFO, 11 others, acted corruptly – 28 July 2017

Gary Goodman, former CFO of Botany Bay council and a host of other council members have been found to have acted corruptly by the ICAC, after a public inquiry last year.

The CFO raised over $5 million in fake invoices, and the state watchdog found this corruption extended almost two decades, concluding when Goodman was fired in 2015 following the ICAC investigation.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/5-million-in-bogus-invoices-icac-finds-former-botany-bay-cfo-11-others-acted-corruptly-20170726-gxiw8x.html

Alastair MacGibbon to talk at AIPI National Conference – 22 July 2017

Alastair MacGibbon, recently appointed head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, will be the Key Note Speaker for the AIPI National conference to be held at University of Melbourne Law School on 7 September 2017.

The conference will feature presentations from leading practitioners from the Telstra, Australian Federal Police, Australian Taxation Office, Victoria Police, National Australia Bank, McGrathNicol, Equifax, ACORN, QLD police and more.

Topics covered will include bitcoin/cryptocurrency, ransomware, man-in-the-middle scams, identity fraud, advances in forensic IT, data analytics etc and their impact on the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and reparation from “Technology Enable Financial Crime”.

http://www.aipi.asn.au/2017/04/18/annual-national-meeting-2017/

http://www.trybooking.com/289382

Whistleblowing legislation mooted by the Federal Government – 25 June 2017

The Federal Minister for Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, spoke at a whistleblower summit hosted by the University of Melbourne Law School on Friday.  Ms O’Dwyer told the summit that the Government intends to introduce whistleblower protection legislation including provisions for paying compensation to people who blow the whistle on corporate corruption or unethical behaviour.  The initiative is similar to US legislation that sees between 10% and 30% of money collected in a case of corporate misconduct paid to the whistleblower.  

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/australia-not-yet-ready-for-usstyle-whistleblower-bounty-rewards-says-asics-john-price-20170623-gwx7ys.html

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation caught on telephone intercept – 22 June 2017

Michael Cranston who resigned as Deputy Commissioner of Tax on 13 June 2017 after being caught up in allegations of a $144 million tax fraud involving his son and his daughter was caught on a telephone intercept advising his son on how to deal with an investigation into the allegations.   The conversation with his son caught on audio recording was played to a criminal hearing in Sydney yesterday.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/michael-cranston-captured-in-phone-taps-on-144m-ato-tax-fraud-20170621-gwvlh7.html

 

ACT Chapter relaunched – 20 June 2017

The ACT Chapter was relaunched this week.  Chapter President Rochelle Sistrom welcomed ACT Members and guests to a breakfast meeting at ‘the Deck’ at Regatta Point, Parkes.  The meeting heard a fascinating presentation by Alastair MacGibbon, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security. Alastair told the meeting about the latest threats to corporate and government cyber security in this country and initiatives of the Federal Government to counter the threat.     The relaunch of the ACT Chapter after a hiatus of six years is a significant step forward for the AIPI.

ACT Chapter President Rochelle Sistrom presenting an award to Alastair MacGibbon following is address on Cyber Security to the ACT Chapter.

NSW Labor Minister sentenced to 10 years – 2 June 2017

Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald has been sentenced to a minimum 10 years jail for misconduct in public office. He was found guilty of two counts of misconduct in public office after he granted a multimillion-dollar coal-mining license to Doyles Creek Mining in 2008.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/former-labor-minister-ian-mcdonald-sentenced-to-ten-years-for-misconduct-in-public-office/news-story/68ce44fa8fd9301326c98e246a4b568d?utm_source=Daily%20Telegraph&utm_mediam=email&utm_campaign=editorial

Joint Parliamentary Committee considers whistleblower protection in Australia – 17 May 2017

On 30 November 2016, the Senate referred an inquiry into whistleblower protections in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.   The following is a link to the website (registration is required to get access):

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Corporations_and_Financial_Services/WhistleblowerProtections

The referral of this issue to the joint parliamentary committee is consistent the Australian Government’s National Action Plan 2016-2018 under the Open Government Partnership, an initiative of the United Nations aimed at promoting transparency, fighting corruption and using technology to strengthen governance practices around the world (November 2016).

You can find the Australian Governments National Action Plan at http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwim9cCL8_DTAhWKk5QKHZ-aANoQFggiMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fogpau.pmc.gov.au%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2FAustralias-first-Open-Government-National-Action-Plan-Draft-for-consultation-Accessible.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGkOWmxBvfAuE2MM2hvqroRji1e6w&sig2=In5n7ZTz6cCvC1DnjORx0w

A statement of the Australian Government’s commitment to better protection for whistleblowers is found at 1.1 in the plan (page 11):

“Australia will ensure appropriate protections are in place for people who report tax evasion or avoidance, corruption, waste, fraud and misconduct within the corporate sector.”

Written submissions to thee joint parliamentary committee closed on 11 February and the last public hearing was held on 28 April.   The committee is due to report by 30 June.  All of the written submissions and a transcript of evidence at the public hearings are on the website.   There were many submissions made by a large number of individuals and organisations. 

The AIPI is represented on a working party formed by Standards Australia to consider recommendations for an international whistleblower protection standard and also to consider an equivalent standard addressing whistleblower protection in this country.