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Financial services hit by crime

Financial services hit by crime

The global downturn presents opportunities for organised crime syndicates to exploit the financial sector, according to

The global downturn presents opportunities for organised crime syndicates to exploit the financial sector, according to a report released by the Australian Crime Commission on Wednesday.

Access to "financially skilled facilitators" who - knowingly or unwittingly - help criminals retain and legitimise proceeds of crime and avoid taxation are critical to successful operations, said the report. "Regulatory regimes managing the financial sector will become an increasingly important component in the prevention of organised crime," it said.

The cost of organised crime to Australia in 2008 was estimated at $10 billion. Financial crimes range from fraud against potential investors to actively manipulating the stock market.

Additional opportunities for fraud have been created by financial and market diversification, greater levels of economic activity and new technology, said the report

The Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, Bernie Ripoll, announced a new inquiry into corporate collapses and the financial sector on Thursday.

It will look into the role played by financial advisors and their licensing arrangements, as well as advertising and marketing of a product, and the state of the general regulatory environment.

- Sarah Sharples

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