EXPERT INSIGHT 56 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | MAR 2022 opportunity and rationalisation. COVID-19 has undoubtedly created a much more favourable environment for the fraudster. New fraud opportunities emerged as organisations moved to working remotely and existing internal controls, such as payment approval processes, and monitoring activities were relaxed. Concerns over business survival have incentivised would-be fraudsters, and government support was also targeted. Moreover, individuals may have been more easily able to rationalise wrongdoing through the lack of positive contact with colleagues. The pandemic has also disrupted the supply chains of many organisations. In an increasingly regulated and uncertain world, businesses’ reliance on extended global supply chains and networks of third parties heightens the importance of managing risk and resilience across these networks. The ESG agenda is also causing an increase in non-financial reporting requirements, regulation and scrutiny. Regulators, investors and customers are becoming increasingly focused on fraud concerning ESG issues, whether that is criminal behaviour or exploitation in supply chains, or false claims or reporting concerning green credentials. Most larger businesses are currently working to improve ESG governance throughout their supply chains and operations, and robust intelligence work plays a key role in managing these risks. In what ways are these risks compounded by the introduction of an international dimension? With increasing globalisation of trade and investments, risks to organisations are increasing in scale and complexity. A key issue for businesses is trust. The relationships between global businesses and their counterparties are not subject to the same level of trust that has been built historically through personal contact over a number of years. We see global organisations with increasingly autonomous parts of the business, and this leaves the door open to manipulation. Where businesses are geographically spread, with a changing profile of suppliers and stakeholders, it is especially important that they do reliable diligence on counterparties to minimise their exposure to risk. This is an area of growth in the work we do, and our intelligence specialists help clients to address a range of business issues and mitigate risk in the supply chain. Global organisations also face the challenge of meeting the requirements of a number of different regulators and regulations, be that multifaceted international sanctions regimes or challenges presented by global data regulations. Have there been similar evolutions in the sanctions space? What major shifts have taken place in the past decade? Sanctions is an area of economic crime that has become increasingly important, and one where we are repeatedly seeing our clients spotting the risks and seeking our help.