News from 2022

January 2022 ~ Processing Criminal Offence Data . . . in the 2020s

Investigating fraud being IPFGB’s core function, it is naturally necessary to provide our clients with a good understanding of the identity and background of those who are committing these offences. In order to provide evidence for civil litigation or prosecution in the courts, we are occasionally tasked to establish details of the bad actors’ criminal past. Under certain circumstances, that data which is in the public domain may potentially be legally processed once the data protection impact and legitimate interest assessments [D{IA and LIA] have been properly conducted. A good understanding of the law in this field is, therefore, essential.

Controlling and processing of personal data in general, and special category [sensitive] personal data in particular, is taken very seriously by members of the Association of British Investigators [ABI].

With ill-informed TV programmes only as a guide, a member of the public might be forgiven for having scant knowledge in this regard, but it is unforgivable that we are still approached by law-firms who seem to have no comprehension of DP compliance, or somehow believe that they [and we] are perhaps exempt. Such was the case recently, when a well-established firm blatantly asked us to quote for obtaining “full criminal convictions” of individuals with whom they were in litigation. We declined the opportunity.

Full story on the ABI website here.

January 2022 ~ Putting right a 20-year wrong

2022 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Enterprise Act, when a certain Chancellor of the Exchequer attempted to de-stigmatise bankruptcy. His idea was to encourage ‘risk-takers’ and allow failures to be back in business within a 12-month. Oft as not, of course, those risks were taken with other people’s money and the result was that within two years, personal bankruptcies almost doubled and respectability became a thing of the past.

A study by Kingston University revealed that only 16 per cent had anything to do with business; the vast majority being consumers who had got into trouble with their credit cards or wide-eyed home-improvers who had under-estimated the costs of doing up a mortgaged property; [source The Spectator].

During these 20 years, in conducting fraud investigations, IPFGB has regularly encountered company directors whose business history has been littered with a trail of failed enterprises; many of them having taken advantage of the situation and rooked people, and the taxman, out of millions.

HMG has now announced that rogues who dissolve their companies and avoid paying liabilities to staff, creditors, and the taxpayer, can now be disqualified from being a director. The Insolvency Service has been granted new powers to tackle these unfit directors.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We want the UK to be the best place in the world to do business . . . these new powers will curb those rogue directors who seek to avoid paying back their debts, including government loans provided to support businesses and save jobs. Government is committed to tackle those who seek to leave the British taxpayer out of pocket by abusing the covid financial support that has been so vital to businesses.”

If misconduct is found, directors can now face prosecution, be disqualified as a company director for up to 15 years, and be forced to pay compensation to creditors who have lost out due to their fraudulent behaviour.

The banking and finance industry is supporting this legislation which will provide additional deterrents and easier enforcement of the rules.