Protecting New Zealand against corruption, focus of SFO Conference

Published

Anti-corruption and counter-fraud experts from around the world will soon gather in Auckland to discuss the threats of financial crime and corruption.

They will be speaking at the SFO’s Fraud and Corruption Conference ‘Protecting New Zealand’s taonga’ on Thursday 7 March.

Conference speakers include Lyn McDonald, the Director of the UK Cabinet Office's Fraud, Error, Debt and Grants team, and Lisa Osofsky, the Director of the UK Serious Fraud Office.

More than 250 people will attend the event at SkyCity Convention Centre.

Many participants of an Economic Crime Agencies Network (ECAN) meeting in Auckland on 5-6 March will attend and speak at the conference. ECAN members include the UK SFO, US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption and Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.     

“The Coalition Government has a particular focus on tackling organised crime,” says the Minister Responsible for the SFO, Stuart Nash.

“Complex financial crime, fraud and corruption causes significant harm in our communities.

“We are working closely with agencies in other countries to prevent transnational crime and look forward to discussions with our international partners about further ways to combat these offences,” says Mr Nash.

Prevention of public sector fraud and corruption will be focused on during the day as the SFO looks to increase its work in this area.

"The SFO is looking at the benefits of being not just the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, which is presently our main job, but also the fence at the top in terms of prevention,” says the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Julie Read.

More information about the conference can be found here.

ENDS

Issued by

Henry Acland
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Speaker information

Lyn McDonald - UK Cabinet Office

Lyn McDonald is the Director of the UK Cabinet Office's Fraud, Error, Debt and Grants team. The team, at the centre of the UK government, is tasked with reducing losses to public funds arising from fraud and errors. Lyn led the first ever review of the UK government grants spend (monies awarded to outside bodies by Government departments) in 2012, leading to the establishment of a specialist financial policy team for awarding government grants. She led a Prime Minister’s review of Fraud and Error and then also took on responsibility for the Debt team in 2015.

Hui Chen - Ethics and Compliance Expert

Hui Chen was the first-ever exclusive compliance consultant to the US Department of Justice's Fraud Section. She has served as a federal prosecutor and a senior ethics and compliance leader in multinational corporations. She is a speaker, consultant, and researcher on corporate and government ethics and compliance issues.

Lisa Osofsky - UK SFO Director

Lisa Osofsky is the Director of the UK Serious Fraud Office. She has over 30 years’ experience pursuing and protecting against financial crime.

Lisa began her career as a US federal prosecutor, taking on white collar crime cases including defence contractor and bank frauds. She spent five years as Deputy General Counsel and Ethics Officer at the FBI and was seconded to the UK SFO while a Special Attorney in the US Department of Justice’s Fraud Division. 

Ricky Yau - Top Investigator of Hong Kong's Corruption Watchdog

Ricky Yau Shu-chun is the Deputy Commissioner and Head of Operations of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), where he has led numerous corruption investigations in both the public and private sectors.

ICAC was established in 1974 to clean up corruption in the Hong Kong Government through law enforcement, prevention and community education. 

Denis Tang - Director CPIB

Denis Tang is Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) of Singapore. He was appointed to the role in October 2018 to lead the Bureau in investigating, preventing and detecting corruption in the island nation. He spearheads CPIB’s mission to combat corruption through swift and sure, firm but fair action. 

Denis' priorities include further strengthening and fortifying Singapore's solid foundation of incorruptibility and leading CPIB’s efforts to work with like-minded international partners to actively deal with anti-corruption issues.  

Rupert Broad - Head of the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre

Rupert Broad is the first head of the new International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre (IACCC) and a senior manager in the UK’s National Crime Agency. The London-based IACCC is responsible for coordinating the global law enforcement response to allegations of grand corruption.

Rupert previously worked as a senior investigating officer in the National Crime Agency’s International Corruption Unit – leading investigations into politically exposed people involved in international bribery and corruption offences. 

Steven M. D’Antuono - Head of the FBI's Financial Crimes Section

Steven M. D’Antuono is the Head of the FBI’s Financial Crimes Section within the Criminal Investigative Division. He currently oversees all aspects of white-collar crime for the FBI, including corporate securities and commodities fraud, economic crimes, financial institution fraud, money laundering, health care fraud, intellectual property and the Forensic Accountant Program.

Timothy K. Kuhner - Associate Professor, Auckland Law School

Timothy Kuhner is an Associate Professor at Auckland Law School. His research focuses on corruption and political finance. He is the author of ‘Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution’. He is also the author of various law review articles, including ‘American Plutocracy, American Kleptocracy’ and ‘The Corruption of Liberal and Social Democracies’ - that address the intersection between law, economic inequality, and political inequality. 

Anthony Bivona - Unit Chief, FBI Economic Crimes Unit

Special Agent Anthony Bivona of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been the lead investigator in multiple, high profile and public corruption investigations. Anthony is responsible for the Corporate Securities and Commodities Fraud and Frauds and Swindles programs within the Financial Crimes Section of the FBI. His responsibilities include providing guidance, training, and support in relation to sophisticated fraud schemes targeting America’s corporations, securities and commodities markets, and bankruptcy system.    

Laura Eshelby – UK Cabinet Office

Laura Eshelby is the Head of Counter Fraud Training and Professionalisation in the Centre of Expertise for Counter Fraud and Error reduction in the Cabinet Office. The Fraud and Error team work closely with ministers, senior leaders in Government and central Government Departments to agree the agenda on dealing with fraud and error loss in the public sector. A key part of this work to find more fraud is to increase the capability of those working in Counter Fraud and Corruption roles across Government. 

About the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act.

The SFO is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex financial crime, including bribery and corruption.

The presence of an agency dedicated to white collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption.

This work contributes to a productive and prosperous New Zealand and the SFO’s collaborative efforts with international partners also reduce the serious harm that corrupt business practices do to the global economy.

The SFO has two operational teams: the Evaluation and Intelligence team and the Investigations team.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”

Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”

In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:

  • the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
  • the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
  • the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
  • any relevant public interest considerations. 

The SFO’s Annual Report 2018 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO’s strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz

The SFO Twitter feed is @SFO_NZ