Friday, March 2, 2012

Corporate criminals target mining sector assets

Corporate criminals are prospering amid tight economic times, a survey on global fraud has found.

The report by accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers found white-collar crime was a growing threat, and the mining sector was a particular target.

Half of Australian businesses reported at least one case of economic crime in the past year - a much higher rate than recorded in the Asia Pacific overall - with some suffering losses of more than $5 million, according to the survey. 

Listen to my interview with PWC forensic partner Malcolm Shackell who told The World Today there had been a large rise in expense fraud and false invoicing.

"The typical business criminal is an employee, typically they're male and they've been employed between three and five years in the organisation and usually have a managerial role," Mr Shackell said.

"Most of them are after financial gain, and they will seek that through the theft of assets and funds.

The report found cybercrime was the second most reported economic crime, as individuals have more ways to access information in an organisation.

"Interestingly what we are seeing more of now is of course the cyber criminal, and the cyber criminal is after information because information these days has value," he said.

And Mr Shackell says the criminals also are selling disused equipment, which can be very valuable, particularly in the mining sector.

"Also, interestingly, there is a thriving black market around old assets, particularly in industries
such as mining and also construction," Mr Shackell said.

"So what we are seeing is the fraudulent writedown of assets, and these things are then being on-sold in the black market or through auction sites."

Investors push to de-Murdoch News Corporation board

James Murdoch's resignation as executive chairman of News International is the latest chapter in damage control stemming from phone hacking at The News of The World.

The decision also takes James Murdoch another step away from succeeding his father Rupert as chairman and chief executive of News Corporation.

But the news could be worse the James Murdoch.

News Corporation shareholders are increasingly angry about the damage the scandal is doing to the company's reputation and share price.

London's Guardian newspaper has reported that some are already drafting resolutions for this year's annual general meeting to remove James Murdoch from the News Corporation board.

The moves add to speculation that when Rupert Murdoch finally retires or dies, his successor is unlikely to be a Murdoch but News Corporation's president and chief operating officer, Chase Caret.

Listen to my analyisis from AM, and see below for coverage on ABC News Breakfast.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Business wants to get back to business now the Labor leadership is resolved

The Business Council of Australia has welcomed Julia Gillard's overwhelming victory in Monday's labor leadership ballot.

BCA president Tony Shepherd hopes the clear outcome in favour of the Prime Minister will end a period of uncertainty for business and kickstart the debate of major policy.

Mr Shepherd  says while Australia's economy remains solid, its reputation has taken a mild hit because of the instability.

I interviewed Mr Shepherd for The World Today shortly after the vote was made public.