Economic crime cost UK businesses £40bn in 2003

UK businesses lost more than £40bn last year as a result of economic crime, according to research.

A survey of 100 companies, from accountants and advisers RSM Robson Rhodes, showed that the majority of companies expect crimes to hit their shares and corporate image.

The main areas of concern are money laundering, embezzlement and cheque fraud. Bribery and corruption among staff also is a worry, the survey found.

While firms are aware of the issues, they need more protection, RSM said.

“Businesses need to take the risks posed more seriously,” said Bill Cleghorn, a partner at RSM.

To be successful, they need to spend more time discussing and dealing with the problem at a boardroom level, he said.

The poll was undertaken with the backing of the Home Office and the Fraud Advisory Panel, and questioned companies with a combined market value of more than £500bn.

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