Three dimensions of cross-jurisdictional fraud

31 Mar 2023

DRD Partnership was delighted to co-host a panel discussion with the Female Fraud Forum, looking at three different dimensions of cross-jurisdictional fraud.

The event, co-hosted with the Female Fraud Forum, looked at the three dimensions of cross-jurisdictional fraud, focusing on how journalists, lawyers and communications professionals deal with high-stakes international cases. Chaired by the Forum’s Education Secretary, Stephanie Duncan, the panel featured:

  • Two top-tier investigative journalists, Cynthia O’Murchu (Financial Times) and Franz Wild (The Bureau of Investigative Journalists)
  •  An experienced specialist in complex disputes and co-head of Bird & Bird’s International Dispute Resolution Group, Sophie Eyre
  • DRD’s own Claire Davidson, who has delivered strategic communications campaigns in over 100 countries and has assisted clients in some of the most high-profile international fraud cases.

The discussion provided a rare opportunity to bring together professionals working on different sides, offering a glimpse on what goes on behind the scenes of major fraud crises and investigations. The audience enjoyed a lively debate in which the speakers tackled some of the common myths about their respective fields and shared war stories from their experiences of dealing with the other side. Key takeaways from the discussion included:

  • It all begins with ‘digging’: Every side dealing with a fraud case begins with the same step – a meticulous due diligence process to establish all relevant facts, understand the precise nature of allegations and identify potential holes in the story.
  • Reputations on the line: Journalists, lawyers and communications advisers all have ‘skin in the game’ and rely on their reputations to be able to effectively interact with each other. Each side has their own way of mitigating risk. Journalists in respectable media houses, for example, face rigorous systems of checks and balances when working on stories, leading them to pore over copy alongside independent verifiers and lawyers before publication. The event heard how journalists cannot afford to take reputational damage from unverified information.
  • Finding common ground: Much of the debate focused on what is considered to be in the ‘public interest’. Consensus was found in the importance of distinguishing between public interest and an interested public.
  • Ruining it for everyone: There was agreement over what bad practice can look like across all disciplines. The potential harm done by lawyers perceived to be ‘overly aggressive’, journalists who let agenda get in the way of the truth and PRs who seek to mislead. It was observed that the reputation of our fields can be defined by the lowest benchmark, leading to inaccurate perceptions. The speakers discussed at length the complication of dealing with bad actors, the impact of their work on our respective clients and colleagues and the implications for the justice system and the freedom of press.

The engaging panel was followed by a networking session and drinks, allowing the speakers and guests to continue exploring these subjects in an informal way. DRD would like to thank the speakers who contributed to the discussion, those who took the time to attend and the Female Fraud Forum for partnering on an enjoyable evening for all.