ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East opens in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, 24th February, 2019 (WAM) — The region’s foremost forum dedicated to analysing fraud and malpractice and discussing the means, approaches and advances in preventing its occurrence got underway Sunday with the opening of the 2019 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East.

Hosted by the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority (ADAA) and drawing on the expertise of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the first of the conference’s three days witnessed the participation of over 450 stakeholders in a comprehensive programme of keynote addresses, seminars and panel discussions centered on understanding the root causes of this phenomenon and on defining and sharing leading practices in defending corporate and public ecosystems against the negative impact of fraud on society.

The organisers of the event, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), stated that Abu Dhabi’s hosting of the conference for the second consecutive year demonstrates the important role the Emirate is playing in terms of enhancing transparency, supporting governance and promoting assurance.

“I am honoured to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their directives and guidance and unweathered and constant support for initiatives and events that drive sustainable development, and set high standards for governance, competitiveness and transparency,” said Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, Chairman of ADAA.

“Hosting the fourth edition of this prominent event demonstrates our firm belief in the importance of collaborative efforts to find effective and efficient solutions to promote transparency and integrity, and progress towards our common goal of building a better future for our people and our communities. We are proud of our willingness to work with prominent experts, specialists, researchers, and other stakeholders from around the world to shed light on the risks of, and the harmful consequences of fraudulent practices; bring awareness of the factors and elements that facilitate them; and third, identify areas for improvements and weaknesses in the control environment to thus establish the necessary preventative, detective and directive measures to address violations,” he added.

The 2019 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East agenda includes a series of sessions examining relevant and prevailing topics in the quest for sound governance and prudent practices. Key note speakers included Dr. Eugene Soltes, author of ‘Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal’ – a book described as being a ‘a groundbreaking study on white-collar criminality.’ Soltes, whose research focuses on how individuals and organisations confront and overcome challenging situations, was awarded the 2015 Charles M. Williams Award for outstanding teaching.

Addressing forum participants on the opening day also was Dr. Stephen Hill, Ph.D., MLPI, CIIP, the managing director of Hill Bingham Ltd, who shared with attendees updates on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that imposes strict new rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information, and which came into force in May last year, and how it will affect cybersecurity. He also applauded ADAA’s dedication to promoting and supporting leading practices in the anti-fraud industry.

“We now live in a world were data has become our biggest asset but is also our biggest responsibility. New European GDPR legislation takes data protection to the next level and amongst many things has identified concerns from the public when it comes to the protection of their data, thus making data processors and controllers more accountable. The impact of financial crime on the world economy is immense and the current fraud figures are so large they can scarcely be comprehended. Directors and managers need to know the fraud risks that their businesses face and how to protect themselves against these risks,” he said.

“The collaboration of the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority with organisations such as the ACFE demonstrates a determination not to alarm but to educate those who are in a position to identify and stop this activity from happening. By bringing people together at the 2019 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East, it allows delegates to share experience and hear from some of the best speakers both in the UAE and further afield to improve their resilience and continue the fight against fraud,” he added.

The first day of the event also saw attendees learning about optimising their cross-border investigations from Richard Trainer, CFE, legal director at Mishcon de Reya LLP.

“Suing to recover assets lost to fraud is very different from ordinary litigation as fraudsters do not play by the rules. The good news is that the courts of most jurisdictions are here to help, even those in ‘shadowy’ offshore jurisdictions where fraudsters typically salt away the proceeds,” he explained.

The 2019 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East runs from February 24-26, 2019 at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche, Abu Dhabi. The conference draws on the expertise of ACFE – the world’s largest anti-fraud organisation and a premium provider of anti-fraud training and education. ACFE works to reduce business fraud worldwide and inspire public confidence in the integrity and objectivity of the counter-fraud profession.

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