2022 News Updates

THE DANGER OF CYBERATTACKS - By Bart Heynickx, partner at ALTIUS

As the final panel on the Friday afternoon of the Dubrovnik Annual Congress (7 October 2022), the Anti-Fraud Forum had the pleasure of enlightening the crowd with its views on cybersecurity and, more specifically, the danger of cyberattacks. Carmel King from Grant Thornton and Bart Heynickx from Altius had requested Vijay Rathour, a partner in Grant Thornton’s forensic and investigations practice, and the lead in its digital forensics group, to share his views.

The panel started by explaining that everybody can be a target of fraud and that, over a life span, it is very likely that everybody will be at some point be a victim of fraud. The idea that fraud is something that only affects the old, the not-so-intelligent or gullible, is completely wrong. Everybody can and will experience fraud. Some sectors are more vulnerable than others. Companies dealing with client data are more likely to be attacked. In the hack committed on “Grand Theft Auto”, one of the biggest and most played video games of all time, London’s Metropolitan police arrested a 17 year old who had succeeded in stealing data and subsequently posting information regarding the game’s upcoming new version on worldwide web fora.

In general, however, cyberattacks are committed by organised criminals that have made a good business out of doing so. Law firms are also often under attack, as they hold interesting client data, and also because changing details in contracts (such as payment information or bank accounts numbers) might result in payments not reaching the intended beneficiary but rather the fraudster. The outcome of such attacks is not always easy to predict. The criminals in question are hard to find and often hide in countries that are not easily accessible. Investigations need close, international cooperation that are based on common regulations. Such a framework is not always fully present.

As a result, we have seen that police forces, rather than looking for the party responsible for the fraud, target the “victim” of the fraud and investigate whether or not this party has put in place sufficient protection against such fraud. For that reason, several different law firms that had been hacked received a fine because of their failure to respect security regulations (for example, on the basis of the GDPR regulation). The result is that the victim suffers twice, both from the fraud itself as well as from the penalty imposed afterwards.

Ransomware was also discussed. If a payment is made to cybercriminals, then there is no certainty that these criminals will (i) release the data to the company in question, (ii) not use the data for their own benefit or still sell it, and/or (iii) not attack the same victim again. Cases of “triple dipping” are known in which victims that have paid-off the fraudsters are easy pickings for the latter again and are thus likely to be attacked once more… 

The panel thus revealed that we, once again, live in a terrifying world. Not only is it very likely that we will all be, one day or another, victims of a cyberattack; in addition, it is possible that we ourselves will be fined for not having put sufficient protection in place. Remedies are scarce. Vijay came up with the (not so socially acceptable) advice to “trust no-one”.  Clearly, an organisation is only as strong as its weakest (cyber)link. 
2021 News & Events Updates

Joint Virtual Fraud Conference, 2 & 3 February

The First Virtual Fraud Conference took place on 2 and 3 February 2021, attracting more than 150 participants from jurisdictions all over the EU. The Fraud Conference was co-organised by R3, the UK Fraud Advisory Panel and INSOL Europe’s Anti-Fraud Forum. Report by Carmel King and Bart Heynickx, co-chairs of the Anti-Fraud Forum. 
Over two days, the conference provided over 15 live and on-demand sessions, joining more than 30 highly renowned speakers from a wide variety of institutions including the Cabinet Office, UNODC, HMRC, NCA, BBC, the House of Lords, Transparency International, the SFO, the EPPO and a range of chambers, legal and professional advisory firms. INSOL Europe’s own Marcel Groenewegen, Stephane Bonifassi and Hector Sbert kindly contributed their expertise.
Day one kicked off with a lively debate on the Changing Nature of Financial Crime in a Post-Covid world, chaired by Frances Coulson and discussing the challenges and new fraud schemes developed or further expanded during the current pandemic.  Also in relation to the pandemic, Carmel King brought together a panel to talk about Deepfakes and Misinformation, a problem that, unfortunately, keeps on growing. A third session, scheduled just prior to some (online) networking and exhibitions, considered how to Make Fraudsters Pay: The Counter-Fraud Practicioner’s Toolkit, where an international panel reviewed the best and most efficient tools to block fraudsters and seize their assets, and this as well from a public sector point of view as from the private sector, with Bart Heynickx as a moderator. The first day closed with a session on Tackling Rogue Companies, presided over by Frances Coulson.  During the evening, some participants enjoyed an online wine-tasting session.
The second day opened with the biggest fraud of the century (so far), OneCoin, and assembled, under Carmel King’s guidance, both the BBC-reporter that uncovered the heist (Jamie Bartlett), a OneCoin-victim and a crypto-currency specialist that had been approached to work for OneCoin and set-up their block-chain.  A fascinating story unravelled. The next panel covered the future on Tackling Economic Crime.  The final two live sessions, focused on the digital point of view with Frances Coulson chairing a session on Secret Agents, Smart Contracts and Crypto-Assets and Bart Heynickx on Digital Forensics.  The digital world provides for more tools and opportunities, but also for more related fraud.  The Digital Forensics session talked about technical and legally acceptable tools to unravel such fraud and bring criminals to justice.
During breaks and after the conference, participants could also enjoy a number of pre-recorded sessions, going into the related topics in more detail and providing further valuable input. 
Last chance to purchase On-demand Sessions
All live and pre-recorded sessions are still available on the conference platform until 1 April 2021. If you have not already registered, visit the conference website and use the following codes to purchase your ticket before 1 March at the special member rates: INSOL Europe Members: INSOLCONF21; Young Members: NewINSOL21

'Fraud Investigations in a COVID World' video published

A special edition of INSOL Europe's 'COVID Coffee Breaks' series has been published, featuring a discussion between Co-Chairs of the INSOL Europe Anti-Fraud Forum Carmel King (UK) and Bart Heynickx (Belgium). The video focuses on “Fraud investigations in a COVID World”. Watch this an other videos in the series on our Web Series page here.

July 2019 Update

We have had a busy first six months as Co-Chairs of the Anti-Fraud Forum. We are delighted to share an update with Anti-Fraud Forum members on our activities.
INSOL Europe Strategic Task Force 2025 Review
In April we circulated a brief survey to members inviting your opinion on the Forum, what you would like to see, what projects would be suitable for the Forum and inviting volunteers to help deliver that vision. We were very pleased with the responses, which were considered and showed a genuine interest in making the Forum the best it can be for members. As a result of the survey we have generated ideas for our Annual Meeting and collaborations with other professional groups, and we look forward to sharing those with you shortly. Many thanks again to those of you who responded to the survey.
AIJA / INSOL Europe Joint Conference, Mallorca 2019
In May the Co-Chairs participated in the first collaboration between AIJA and the INSOL Europe Young Members working group. Carmel’s presentation was a debate on the use and abuse of forum shopping, and Bart spoke about protective strategies for creditors on debtors’ insolvency. The conference was very well attended and a great success. It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with Forum members in such a beautiful location. We were delighted to get a special mention by Piya Mukherjee, INSOL Europe’s Deputy President, who in her welcome singled out the Anti Fraud Forum’s Sherlock Holmes session at the Athens Congress!
Annual Meeting at the INSOL Europe Annual Congress, Copenhagen
We are very pleased to anticipate another busy Annual Congress in September. Carmel will be chairing a plenary session on litigation funding, entitled “Money for nothing and claims for free” – we’ll see about that!
In addition, the Forum will be holding its annual meeting as per usual on Thursday 26 September at 5pm. We are delighted to have received a number of topical suggestions from Forum members for interesting topics to discuss. We anticipate that the format of the Anti-Fraud Forum meeting will involve a brief presentation on one such topic and related discussion, as well as a general update on the activities of the Anti-Fraud Forum over the previous year and a conversation around what members want to see in the year ahead. It’s not too late to let us know if there is anything you would like on the agenda, or to volunteer to present!
Please note that this event is now postponed - more details to come.
Call to Action!

Dear members of the Anti-Fraud Forum,

As you might have read in INSOL Europe’s December newsletter, we are very grateful to have been accepted as Co-Chairs of the Anti-Fraud Forum.
First of all, we would like to thank David Ingram and Eitan Erez for the great job they did as founders and promotors of the AAF since 2012 and 2016 respectively. We hope that we will be able to fill the gap they have left behind.
During the upcoming year and beyond, we will be focusing on developing the AFF and its founding goals of promoting the use of insolvency processes to assist with the tracing and recovery of assets, sharing experiences amongst members of the group and providing a forum to educate a wider audience on the threats of fraud. We are keen to develop the profile of this group of highly-skilled professionals and explore its potential. We will be looking to establish links with other working groups, inside and maybe even outside of INSOL Europe.  We will keep you updated in that regard.
In the meantime, we would really appreciate members’ input on the AFF’s functioning in general and on the topics that carry members’ interest. We want the AFF to be a valuable resource to members and we need you to tell us what you want it to be. Do you have any thoughts on the structure and agenda of the annual meeting? Would you be interested in a LinkedIn Group to share practical experience and case law? Would you like to represent the Anti-Fraud Forum at an INSOL Europe event or contribute a piece for Eurofenix? The topic scope can be rather broad, for example asset tracing, lenders’ / shareholders’ / administrators’ liabilities, phoenixing, court intervention and supervision in insolvency proceedings to prevent fraud, criminal proceedings, (international) attachment proceedings, UBO-register, trends in fraud and the impact of technology, geopolitical and economic factors, hiding assets offshore, impecunious estates and funding or anything else that you see in your working life.
Any additional items you would be interested in would of course also be hugely appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact us in that regard. 
Best regards,
Co-Chairs of the Anti-Fraud Forum
Carmel King (Carmel.King@uk.gt.com)
Bart Heynickx (Bart.Heynickx@altius.com)
Anti-Fraud Forum News 2019

New Co-Chairs for INSOL Europe’s Anti-Fraud Forum

Carmel King and Bart Heynickx are delighted to announce their appointment as Co-Chairs of the INSOL Europe Anti-Fraud Forum. They are replacing David Ingram and Eitan Erez, who have done some great work in growing and promoting the Forum since it was established at the 2012 Annual Congress.

Carmel is an Associate Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP. She has ten years’ experience in fraud investigations, complex contentious insolvency, asset tracing and recovery. Carmel focusses on cases involving the investigation of fraud or corruption, asset tracing, and gathering evidence to be used in litigation to recover misappropriated assets across different jurisdictions. She has published several articles on fraud and asset recovery. She has experience working in the public and private sectors, having taken instruction from government departments and local authorities in the UK, non-UK governments, and international companies and law firms.   

Bart is a Counsel with ALTIUS Lawyers in Brussels. He has vast experience on issues relating to insolvency and restructuring proceedings and assists clients confronted with business partners or debtors in financial difficulties or having received protection from their creditors. He evaluates the creditors’ securities and proposes the most efficient strategy. He has a particular focus on the takeover of activities, assets and key-staff from insolvent or restructuring companies. Further on Bart’s practice focuses on litigation, in particular proceedings regarding the responsibility of (former) administrators. 

In 2019 and beyond, Bart and Carmel will be focussed on raising the profile of the Anti-Fraud Forum and developing links with the other INSOL Europe working groups and similar professional organisations. A consultation with members will be circulated in the New Year. 
Annual Meeting at the INSOL Europe Annual Congress 2018, Athens

The Co-Chairs of the Anti-Fraud Forum are delighted to be very busy at the Annual Congress this year, with two panel sessions. On Friday morning, Eitan Erez will be chairing a break-out session on how to crack down on fraudulent offshore companies. Later that afternoon, David Ingram will be chairing a plenary session on tracing hidden assets using unusual and innovative methods, defending oneself from covert surveillance, and the legal issues around intelligence gathering.

In addition, the Forum will be holding its annual meeting on Thursday 4 October at 5pm. Items on the agenda include:

  • A short, topical presentation. The Co-Chairs would like to invite members to propose topics for this slot, to speak for 10 minutes or so before opening the topic to wider conversation.
  • Expanding engagement with the Anti-Fraud Forum. Engagement with INSOL Europe events and other working groups.
  • The impact of Brexit on fraud across Europe. What frauds are we likely to see on the rise? How can the Forum raise awareness of the risks?
  • Any other business.

If you would like to attend the Anti-Fraud Forum meeting, please contact Caroline Taylor.

INSOL Europe Young Members Group and Anti-Fraud Forum Joint Conference: A Joint Approach to Combating Fraud
Grant Thornton UK was delighted to host this conference in London on 8 and 9 November 2016. Over 40 delegates from jurisdictions including the UK, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Latvia, Romania and the Czech Republic attended, enjoying the opportunity to network over drinks on 8 November, with the technical session on 9 November.

The theme of the programme was fraud, with presentations from professionals on such areas as witness recollection and evidence, economic fraud legislation, specific country reports, developments in online investigation techniques and funding litigation in insolvent estates. Lively interactive discussions took place around a number of these topics, indicating that this conference was the first of many opportunities for the Anti-Fraud Forum and the Young Members Group to work together to promote their goals and those of INSOL Europe.

Photos from the event can be viewed here.

Download the PowerPoint slides from the event here (PDF format).

Update, April 2015


Our membership now stands at 62, covering 21 countries. Recent joiners have come from three jurisdictions new to the group, Poland, Spain and Sweden. I am pleased that the Anti-Fraud Forum is developing into a representative group of highly skilled and experienced professionals. Whilst I continue to encourage those with an interest in combatting fraud to join the Forum, I hope to encourage the active participation of current members in order that 2015 will see an increased presence of the Anti-Fraud Forum within INSOL Europe.

Online presence

The new INSOL Europe website includes a revamped Anti-Fraud Forum section. I will be considering how to make the most of various new pages, including Mission Statement, Links and Documents, and I intend to seek the input of Forum members for this exercise.
Members of the Forum have contributed articles for publication in Eurofenix, and more are in the pipeline. We are looking at other methods of communication through INSOL Europe: our new Spanish member has prepared an Inside Story, which I look forward to seeing in the March or April edition. Articles are also published in the Anti-Fraud Forum section of the INSOL Europe website, which is gradually building up to form a library of useful resources and information. I have invited members to submit their discussion papers, case studies, legal updates or articles which feature fraud, asset tracing or asset recovery for publication on the Anti-Fraud Forum website. Publication in Eurofenix or other INSOL Europe media is not a prerequisite for inclusion in the Anti-Fraud Forum publications section.  
The Anti-Fraud Forum LinkedIn group, a subgroup of INSOL Europe, launched last year. Membership remains low relative to the membership of the Forum, although I am hopeful that the increased active participation by Forum members will result in more members. I continue to believe that this group offers a real opportunity to develop some lively and interesting discussions amongst members, as well as the chance to get to know one another.  

Annual Congress Istanbul 2014

The Anti-Fraud Forum was invited to present at the 2014 Annual Congress. I chaired a panel session which considered insolvency and asset recovery in Turkey and Northern Cyprus, and the wider relationship with Europe. The panel included Sevi Firat and Ulas Nazim, both very engaging speakers and dynamic in their fields. Despite being the second-to-last session on the Saturday, it was well attended and very well received. I was delighted to once again have the opportunity to promote the Anti-Fraud Forum to Congress delegates, this time on the main stage.
Our third annual meeting took place during the Annual Congress, and was attended by 13 members from a variety of jurisdictions including Germany, Portugal, the UK, Sweden and Spain. It was a fantastic opportunity to catch up with colleagues within the Forum, and everyone made a valuable contribution. The primary emerging theme was active participation, and Forum members from each jurisdiction present committed to producing something on the approach to combatting fraud within their own jurisdiction. One other existing project for 2015 is the progression and publication online of our quick-reference guide to asset recovery through insolvency. This will be a dynamic document which can be revised and updated. Initial publication is likely to cover a limited number of jurisdictions, but further countries and jurisdictions would be expected to contribute and come online.
David Ingram


March 2014

I am pleased to provide an update on the activities of the INSOL Europe Anti-Fraud Forum.

The Forum continues to take steps towards becoming a representative forum of highly skilled and experienced professionals. Our membership now stands at 47, covering 15 countries. We remain focussed on increasing membership numbers and representation from those countries that make up INSOL Europe. I encourage any reader with an interest in combatting fraud to join the Forum, and I urge existing members to recommend a friend, particularly from jurisdictions not currently represented. Please email me (david.ingram@uk.gt.com) to express your interest.

Online presence
The Anti-Fraud Forum section of the INSOL Europe website is developing in terms of content. Members of the Forum have contributed articles for publication, and more are in the pipeline. The value of the website depends entirely on Forum members, and I repeat my call for any discussion papers, case studies, legal updates or articles which feature fraud, asset tracing or asset recovery. Please email these to me to be added to the website. Anonymity can be provided to parties referred to within the piece where necessary.

I am delighted to announce the launch of the Anti-Fraud Forum LinkedIn group, a subgroup of INSOL Europe. Please click to join what I hope will be some lively and interesting discussions around developments in the use of insolvency processes to assist with the tracing and recovery of misappropriated assets. 

Annual Congress Paris 2013
The Paris Congress marked the first anniversary of the Forum. We held two back-to-back breakout sessions, during which our panel discussed the various approaches to the recovery of misappropriated assets across European jurisdictions. The sessions were very well attended, and the feedback has been very positive indeed. As Chair of the sessions, I found the panellists' insightful contributions to be engaging and informative. I only regretted that we had insufficient time to explore our themes in greater detail, and to engage in further lively debate.

The Forum also held a meeting to reflect on the progress made since it was established, and to consider our objectives for the next year. I highlighted at the time the benefits of active participation by all Forum members, and I would very much welcome thoughts and suggestions from Forum members old and new, that will help us to achieve our goals of promoting the use of insolvency for the tracing and recovery of assets, and acting as a forum to educate a wider audience on the threats of fraud.

Annual Congress Istanbul 2014
I am proud to announce that the Technical Committee has invited the Anti-Fraud Forum to present at the Congress in Istanbul in October. Planning is in the early stages as yet, however I anticipate the session will consider the recovery of misappropriated assets, most likely with reference to the process used by our host country for the Congress, Turkey. More details will be announced shortly.

David Ingram

February 2013

Having established the Anti-Fraud Forum at the 2012 Brussels Congress there is much to do before the Congress in Paris in September.

At the time of writing there are 28 members of the Forum from 10 different countries.  Whilst this is most encouraging, in order to establish a lively and representative forum, membership numbers need to increase as does representation across those countries that make up INSOL Europe.  In the past few weeks I have spoken to a number of people from INSOL Europe who were unaware of the Anti-Fraud Forum.  Clearly I need to "bang the drum" of the Forum a little louder and would urge all members of INSOL Europe who have an particular interest in combatting fraud to join the Forum; there is no additional charge to join the Forum once you are a member of INSOL Europe.  The objectives of the Anti-Fraud Forum are set out at the Forum's section of the INSOL Europe website.   

In addition to existing members of INSOL Europe it is likely that there are many professionals across Europe who have an interest in this area and who would benefit from joining the Forum.  If any INSOL Europe members know of such individuals please suggest that they join the Forum, which will necessitate joining INSOL Europe.   

We have established a section of the Insol Europe website for the Anti-Fraud Forum, detailing its objectives and members.  I hope to expand the content over the next few months and would welcome contributions from members.  I would particularly like contributions of examples of work undertaken that has featured fraud, asset tracing and asset recovery.  I do appreciate that, given the potentially sensitive nature of this area of work, members may wish to "anonymise" examples submitted.  In the first instance please send your case studies to me (david.ingram@uk.gt.com); I will endeavour to get them posted on the Forum website as soon as possible.

Comparative Guide to asset tracing and recovery through insolvency procedures
At the meeting of the Forum in Brussels last year, it was suggested and agreed that the group should produce a summary guide to the reliefs available to insolvency practitioners across Europe.  We are not seeking to replace legal advice, and the guide is not aimed at comparing types of insolvency - there are plenty of such guides already available.  The aim of the guide is to provide an initial point of reference on what can and cannot be achieved across Europe, and is anticipated to be a few pages long for each jurisdiction.  For example, certain reliefs may be available in one jurisdiction but not in others; the guide is aimed at comparing such reliefs.

In order for the guide to be useful I will need the support from as many different jurisdictions as possible. Once I have established the format for the guide, which needs to be the same for each jurisdiction covered, I will be in touch with members of the Forum for their assistance in completing task.  I anticipate that the guide will be dynamic, as law and practice in every country is constantly evolving.  As such the aim is for the guide to be published on-line rather than a traditional print document.

Paris Congress
The Paris congress will, of course, mark the first anniversary of the Anti-Fraud Forum and I hope to mark the date by running break-out sessions during the Congress.  Further details will be revealed when the full programme is announced in the next few weeks.  In addition to the break-out session I hope to arrange a meeting of the Forum for all members who are at the Congress so that we can review what has been achieved in the year to date and think about what we hope to achieve in the year beyond September 2013.

There is much to do before the Paris Congress, and so any members who would like to support the Forum by helping out with some of the initiatives would be most welcome.

David Ingram
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