Hundreds of financial crime experts from around the world descended upon Cambridge, England, for the recently held 35th International Symposium on Economic Crime.

KYC360 attended the event, which comprised of lively discussions and solid presentations from crime bosses, judges, lawyers and academics from various countries. Speakers included delegates from China, Nigeria, Germany, Argentina, France, Australia, the US and Taiwan.

In addition to main presentations, which are traditionally held in a large marquee, the symposium also ran several group workshops where experts and attendees engaged in robust debate about economic crime from various perspectives.

PHOTO: Delegates from various countries got to mingle and share ideas

There were also day-long events such as the cybercrime workshop as well as an event focusing on China’s One Belt One Road trade initiative.

A number of main presentations on the first day came from key figures in the UK, which is seeking to position itself as a leading player in the global fight against corruption.

The country’s enforcement agencies outlined various steps being taken to step up the fight against economic crime, such as money laundering, which is estimated to cost the jurisdiction an estimated £24bn a year. Efforts include closer collaboration between government units, such as the National Crime Agency (NCA), and the private sector to disrupt dirty cash flows in the British banking system.

PHOTO: Nigel Kirby, deputy director, Economic Crime Command of the UK’s NCA gives a speech

British agencies also rolled out a raft of tools at their disposal in the fight against economic crime, including deferred prosecution agreements. However, there is still work to be done, such as on the legislative front.

“Weaknesses in our current law result in other jurisdictions holding British companies to account when ours has not, as in the LIBOR case,” said UK Solicitor General Robert Buckland, “this has clear implications for the reputation of our justice system.”

On the international front, crime chiefs from various jurisdictions highlighted the need for countries to step up joint co-operation efforts to combat cross-border financial crime.

So far, progress has included agreements such as the Automatic Exchange of Information to combat tax evasion or events like the London-held 2016 international anti-corruption summit, where individual countries outlined their anti-corruption strategies and also co-launched a system for the exchange of beneficial ownership information, which now has over 50 jurisdictions committed to it.

Different speakers highlighted some of the issues hindering as well as enhancing the fight against economic crime in their various countries. “Canada’s failure to regulate its lawyers is a serious gap in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing,” said Stephen Sterling of the Canadian Ministry of the Attorney General.

Jyoti Trehan. retired Inspector General of Police, Indian Police Service, said: “The judiciary needs to be more alert and vigilant, and laws need to be updated … we have antiquated laws which hamper prosecution.”

PODCAST – What are some of the challenges faced when tackling financial crime in Romania? KYC360 meets Hon Judge Camelia Bogdan, Judge of the Court of Appeal (Bucharest, Romania), at the Cambridge 35th International Symposium on Economic Crime and discusses the issue.

– by Irene Madongo