Investigating suspected frauds in the Middle East


By Sulaksh R. Shah, CFE, CPA, CA

Global Fraud

Traveling to another part of the world to investigate global financial fraud can be challenging and daunting. Here are some things CFEs need to know before embarking on a white-collar crime investigation in the Middle East. 

An anonymous e-mail to a company's general counsel in the United States triggered a recent case I worked on in the Middle East. The e-mail contained a tip that two employees working in the procurement department in the Middle East were colluding with vendors by revealing sealed bid information in return for kickbacks. Our six-week investigation confirmed the allegations.

Investigating suspected financial frauds in the Middle East requires a unique set of skills, practices, and other considerations. Having lived in Kuwait for three years and then several months in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, I've conducted many investigations in the Middle East. Here are a few things I've learned so far that might help fraud examiners from other parts of the world.

WHOM ARE YOU INVESTIGATING?
Obviously, assessing the general environment is essential before starting an investigation. Many Middle Eastern nations are governed by royal families. So be careful whom you investigate. Compared to the United States and most other Western countries, Middle Eastern countries have fewer written laws and tend to rule by executive orders, or decrees, created and enacted by the rulers. While in the Middle East, some mornings I would read in the local newspaper that the head of state had declared an executive order that would mandate a new rule.

 

 

 


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