City insiders asked to help prevent fraud

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LONDON - The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is consulting some of the biggest legal and accountancy firms in the world to ask them to help identify fraud in the wake of the credit crunch. At the same time, it is reaching out to City workers to see whether they have an inside track when it comes to early fraud detection.

The SFO has written to senior and managing partners of the leading accountancy and legal firms in London and is posting a special form on its website www.sfo.gov.uk/cases/cityfraud/ so that those employed in the City's financial services industry can blow the whistle on any bad practices. This online referral form targets individual workers, ex-employees, shareholders and anyone with information about suspected fraud. Information received will be treated in the strictest confidence.

In looking for fraud arising from the credit crunch, the SFO is working closely with colleagues in the law enforcement community both in the UK and abroad, and with governments and regulators.

The SFO website contains detailed information about the criteria under which the SFO can accept a case www.sfo.gov.uk/cases/cases.asp. But typically the SFO does not investigate or prosecute cases involving less than £1 million.

Those who wish to report a criminal offence of fraud that does not appear to meet the SFO's criteria should contact their local police or regional fraud squad. Information about the Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad can be obtained from www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/index.htm.

To hear the Director's views click on this link to the podcast.

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