Asset misappropriation, cybercrime and money laundering among the most frequent crimes, according to the organisation’s survey
Asset misappropriation, cybercrime and money laundering are the most common economic crimes affecting businesses in Cyprus.
This is noted in the Economic Crime Survey by PwC, the local results of which were presented on Tuesday 14 June at the organisation’s headquarters in Nicosia. The presentation was attended by representatives from the business community and the Economic Crime Investigation Office of the Cyprus Police, whose head Mr Christos Christodoulou was among the speakers. Mr Christodoulou noted that due to the increasing incidents of economic crimes and particularly cybercrimes in Cyprus, there is a need for coordinated action between the Police and private stakeholders, such as PwC Cyprus, to tackle the phenomenon.
The PwC survey’s findings show that asset misappropriation ranks as the top economic crime, with 58% of respondents suffering from it in the past two years. This is followed by cybercrime, which affects 25% of companies in Cyprus. However, the survey also found that companies are not taking the necessary safety precautions to avert it, as only 32% of them have plans in place to deal with such incidents.
The third most common crime is money laundering with 25% of Cypriot companies stating they have fallen victim over the past two years, in contrast to 11% of all the companies in West Europe participating in the survey.
Accounting and tax fraud followed (with 21% and 13% respectively), then mortgage fraud (13%), bribery and corruption (13%), competition law infringement (8%), intellectual property infringement (4%), abuse of confidential information (4%) and procurement fraud (4%).
According to the PwC survey, in financial terms, 33% of Cypriot organisations that faced an incident of economic crime lost more than 50,000 dollars; with 8% stating losses of more than 1 million dollars.
The event also featured a presentation on the importance of Cybersecurity for companies as it constitutes more than a challenge but a necessity for business. It is worth noting that according to the Global State of Information Security survey conducted by PwC in cooperation with other partners (CIO & CSO) in May 2015 with the participation of more than 10,000 CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CISOs, CSOs, VPs and IT directors, SMEs reported losses up to 75% in revenues due to security breaches.
In his address during the presentation, PwC CEO Evgenios Evgeniou referred to the need to combat economic crime by implementing stringent measures and effective legislation, stressing however that: “Education and a change of culture is required, which begins first and foremost with the actual cells of the economy: the businesses”. Mr Evgeniou added, “All the organisations, regardless of size or field of activity, are potential victims of economic crime. What is most important, however, is the ability that all organisations without exception have to take specific preventive measures to deal with this phenomenon, in a way that averts these dangers and impacts positively on their general operation”.
In this year’s global study, the 6,337 participants covered a broad range of business sectors in 115 countries, while in the survey specific to Cyprus participated 90 companies and organisations from the areas of financial and professional services, technology, transport and communications.
Director - Marketing & Communications