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The Misuse of “Corporate Vehicles” in the Organisation of Serious Crimes fo...

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Allerton Building, Room L219

University of Salford

Frederick Road Campus

Salford

M6 6PU

United Kingdom

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Recent international scandals, such as the Panama Papers leak, have demonstrated how those involved in serious crimes for gain, such as individual and corporate elites and those more readily associated with organised crime activities, may misuse business structures as ‘vehicles’ to globally manage finances and wealth generated through their illegal, unlawful and unethical behaviours. A ‘corporate vehicle’ is a legitimate, and otherwise legal, business entity, such as a Limited company, trust, foundation, or partnership, that is commonly used in business to structure a range of commercial activities and/or in the control and movement of wealth and assets. Large flows of money move through the global financial system in this way and this has become a central feature of business in market-based economies.

However, recent cases including the role of HSBC in facilitating the tax noncompliance of wealthy elites, the failures of Deutsche Bank in preventing money laundering in Russia, or the emergence of the City of London as a centre for the concealment of ‘dirty money’, particularly in the property market, have raised questions over how the monies for and from these criminal and unlawful behaviours are managed. In this context, we see how licit corporate entities provide opportunities to conceal, convert and control illicit finance and the proceeds of criminal behaviours by offering an external appearance of legitimacy to their ‘beneficial owners’ (i.e. the real people who actually own them) and/or the clients who use them to transfer funds – in this latter case, third-party legitimate actors might also become witting, or unwitting (or wilfully blind), facilitators of serious and organised criminal activities.

Remarkably little is known about the dynamics around how organised crime groups and those implicated in serious crimes misuse such licit corporate entities and who assists them. This paper draws on data generated from a PaCCS funded project to analyse the money for, and the money from, serious crimes for financial gain and in particular how these monies are organised through corporate vehicles.

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Dr Nicholas Lord is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCCJ) in the School of Law at the University of Manchester. Nicholas has research expertise in white-collar, financial and organised crimes, and their regulation and control. His book Regulating Corporate Bribery in International Business (2014) was the winner of the British Society of Criminology Book Prize 2015 and he was the winner of the Young Career Award 2014 of the American Society of Criminology’s Division of White-Collar Crime. He is currently being funded to research the misuse of corporate vehicles in the concealment of illicit finances (PaCCS), the nature and governance of bribery in the UK and the Netherlands (British Academy), the distribution and consumption of counterfeit alcohols (Alcohol Research UK), the finances of modern slavery (N8) and to undertake a Global White-Collar Crime Survey (White & Case LLP). He has forthcoming co-authored books on Urban Security in Europe (2018, Routledge, with Adam Edwards and Gordon Hughes), Corruption in (Non-)Criminal Commercial Enterprise (2017, Routledge, with Liz Campbell), and Rethinking the Organisation of White-Collar and Corporate Crimes (2018, Routledge, with Michael Levi). He is also the President of the European Working Group on Organisational and White-Collar Crime (EUROC) hosted within the European Society of Criminology.

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Allerton Building, Room L219

University of Salford

Frederick Road Campus

Salford

M6 6PU

United Kingdom

View Map

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