Internal investigations play a key role in combating economic crime

If any suspicion of fraudulent activities arises, your action - or inaction - can be a decisive factor in the success or failure of your company. The authorities - and increasingly also the public - have higher expectations these days when it comes to economic crime. If a company is too hesitant in reacting to an incident, this not only may cause greater, direct harm but may also escalate into a widespread crisis.

According to our Global Economic Crime Survey 2020, the level of economic crime continues to be at a record high, with 47 percent of respondents worldwide having been confronted with at least one case of economic crime in the preceding 24 months. A swift clarification of the facts plays a key role in managing and minimizing the financial and regulatory risks arising from fraudulent activities. This is also true when it comes to preserving the good reputation of the company in such situations.

Our investigations team has many years of experience in clarifying fraudulent business activities and breaches of compliance, and can help you to obtain rapid, reliable findings while also guaranteeing the independent nature of the investigation, as required by the regulatory authorities.

The support we offer you is based on state-of-the-art forensic IT solutions (Connected Digital Services), and if required, we can also promptly bring in experts from our global network.

Make sure you react correctly

Almost 60 %

of those companies that conducted an internal investigation to shed light on fraudulent activity subsequently found themselves to be in a better market position afterwards.

Only 56 %

of companies throughout the world, when facing their most serious economic crime, went ahead and conducted an investigation into it. In Germany, the proportion was even as low as 48 percent.

Merely 4 out of 10

such cases were disclosed to the board.

Source: PwC's Global Economic Crime Survey 2020

Post-Deal Review & Investigation­

When a company is facing post-deal irregularities, an allegation, or crisis during the integration or holding period, it’s essential to get the facts fast. We support our clients to thoroughly check the investment after closing – supported by our advanced forensic technology which works quickly to identify, extract, and analyse the relevant data and information.

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Possible triggers for an internal investigation

If there is any suspicion of criminal business activities in a company or any actual indications of such, then it is essential to get to the root of the matter swiftly. The facts must be clarified promptly to avert any further damage to the company. We investigate the nature and extent of fraudulent activities, irregularities, or breaches of duty of various kinds, and quantify the resulting damage.

We ask the crucial fact-finding questions

Internal investigations are aimed at confirming or disproving existing accusations or suspicious facts.

We will help you in fulfilling your organizational and statutory obligations in connection with fraudulent activities and misconduct, and in

  • clarifying the exact facts,
  • identifying the perpetrator(s), and
  • quantifying the resulting damage.

Key questions in an internal investigation

  • What happened?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Who knew about it?
  • Which processes and controls failed?
  • How great is the damage?
  • Are there any claims to damage compensation?

Our investigative approach for comprehensive fact-finding

Determining the investigative strategy and steps

To ensure that the investigation work is successful and that the findings are subsequently usable, we define the scope of the investigation together with you. This includes:

  • Defining a targeted investigation strategy and determining the scope of the investigation.
  • Agreeing on further activities – taking into consideration local legislation and labour-law provisions – and on a corresponding time schedule.
  • Assessing the availability of in-house resources (staff and technology), as well as the forensic technology required.
  • Clarifying and obtaining legal approval in terms of data protection.
  • Reaching an understanding about roles and responsibilities, also regarding the reporting process.
  • Defining the triggers that would require the investigation strategy and the agreed scope to be adjusted.

Establishing the facts

Obtaining the relevant information

We will assist you in identifying and obtaining the relevant information for clarifying the facts of the matter or in monitoring the compiling of such in compliance with local legislation and data protection regulations. This ensures that the authenticity of the information is preserved and that you will be able to use the findings in court.

Analysing and evaluating the information

For the comprehensive processing of the information gathered, we use cutting-edge, AI-supported tools for processing, analysing and visualising structured and unstructured data, making it possible to extract the key information even from larger data volumes, and to combine and interpret that information as required (Connected Digital Services). In this way, we can swiftly present the relevant facts in complex investigations.

Conducting interviews

Having reviewed and analysed the information available, we then pursue the investigation further by interviewing the relevant people. These interviews are conducted observing the provisions of labour-law and data protection legislation as well as general framework conditions such as language and cultural aspects. An appropriate interview strategy is determined prior to the interviews which are then carried out by our employees who have been trained in forensic questioning techniques. If something unforeseen or unexpected transpires, they will then adapt the interview strategy accordingly during the questioning.

Documenting the findings of the investigation

When the investigative work has been completed, we put together a summary of the fact-based findings of the investigation. As well as presenting the investigative approach, the specific steps and the information and data obtained, we also carry out an assessment of the investigation findings against the backdrop of our experience in forensics.

Our report will serve as a basis for you in the further course of proceedings - for legal assessments or for communications with the regulatory authorities, and you can also refer to it when implementing remedial action.

Anti-bribery and anti-corruption

Our experts support you in fighting bribery and corruption in your company. They take a pragmatic approach that balances the increasingly complex risk landscape of national and international guidelines with the characteristics of your organisation, such as size, industry and business partners.

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Contact us

Anita Kim-Reinartz

Anita Kim-Reinartz

Partner, Leader Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 160 94412272

Arndt Engelmann

Arndt Engelmann

Partner, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 151 14806264

Bernd Reimer

Bernd Reimer

Partner, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 175 2937362

Boris Baltruschat

Boris Baltruschat

Partner, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 170 5428927

Christian Muth

Christian Muth

Partner, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 151 61997530

Gunter Lescher

Gunter Lescher

Partner, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 151 12198599

Michael Limmer

Michael Limmer

Director, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 175 1823220

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