Crisis prompts spike in financial crime reports

If a recent increase in suspected cases of wrongdoing is any guide, it appears as if perpetrators of financial crimes in Sweden have no plans to let up due to the financial crisis.

The number of reported cases of possible financial crimes so far this year has already exceeded the record set in 2007.

After several years of steadily increasing complaints of market manipulation and similar crimes, officials observed earlier this year what they thought was a slight leveling off in the number of cases.

But the financial crisis has dashed any hopes that market actors’ moral compasses had somehow been reset.

Through last Friday, Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) had sent 215 reports of suspected criminal activity to the National Economic Crimes Bureau (Ekobrottsmyndigheten).

That means it only took ten months for the tally to top last year’s record of 191 cases.

“Since the end of the summer there’s been a noticeable increase and we’ve received quite a number of reports,” said Finansinspektionen’s head of market supervision, Linda Hedvall, to the TT news agency.

She explained that the increase has occurred at the same time the financial crisis has escalated and spread throughout the world.

Moreover, the crisis itself may be one of the explanations for the recent spike in the number of reported cases.