Russia entered the top 5 leaders in economic crime, equaling this indicator with Uganda. This follows from the report of the auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) "Combating Fraud: What Measures Are Companies Taking?"
More often than in Russia, PwC states, companies face economic crimes only in three countries - France, Kenya and South Africa (Russia shares the fourth place with Uganda). In the previous study, which was conducted at the end of 2015, Russia was outstripped by as many as seven countries.
This time, PwC analysts covered 54 countries. For the 2018 study, 210 companies were surveyed in Russia. As it turned out, in 2016-2017, the number of companies that faced economic crimes increased sharply. Two years earlier, 48% of Russian respondents reported the facts of fraud, this time - 66%.
Both in Russia and in the world, the most widespread type of economic crime is misappropriation of assets. However, in the Russian Federation, this type of fraud was noted by 53% of the surveyed companies, in the world - by 45%. The second place in the Russian crime rating is taken by bribery and corruption - 41%. In the rest of the world, companies encounter corruption much less often - 25%. In third place is fraudulent procurement of goods and services. It was noted by 35% of Russian respondents, which is also higher than the world average (22%).
As noted in PwC, the main damage to business from economic crimes is financial losses and loss of assets. In Russia, 22% of respondents from the number of companies that faced economic crimes in 2016-2017 indicated that the losses incurred from these crimes exceeded $ 1 million.For 41%, the loss did not exceed $ 100 thousand.
Curiously, in Russia, almost half of the respondents indicated that employees of their own companies predominate among fraudsters (48%). Economic crimes are predominantly committed by middle managers (47% in Russia, 37% in the world). Over the past two years, the share of fraudsters among top managers in the Russian Federation has increased - from 15% to 39%. Junior managers commit 14% of crimes.
In the study, PwC also cites the expectations of Russian businesses regarding the threats they may face in the next two years. The top four included fraud in the procurement of goods and services (16%), cybercrime (15%), bribery and corruption (15%) and misappropriation of assets (9%).
A fundamental point: in the PwC study, the companies participating in the survey, and not the law enforcement agencies, classify actions as crimes. Accordingly, these actions are not necessarily formalized as criminal cases.
On the contrary, from the point of view of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, the trend looks the opposite: according to official statistics, the number of economic crimes in Russia has been decreasing since 2015 (112, 4 thousand), and in 2017 it amounted to 105 thousand.
What is behind the PwC rating, what can the Russian economy expect?
- PwC is an auditing company that is closely related to leading international rating agencies, notes Chairman of the Russian Economic Society. S.F. Sharapova, Professor of the Department of International Finance at MGIMO (U) Valentin Katasonov.- In fact, PwC and rating companies operate in tandem, although they don't advertise this anywhere. So I always tense up when PwC research like this one comes up. I understand that this is not just a way for auditors to satisfy curiosity. It is always a tool - the impact of something on something.
From my point of view, the research of auditors is then used by rating agencies to somehow change the assessment of a particular country and its companies. And judging by the conclusions of PwC, Russia's rating will be downgraded in the near future.
"SP": - Can we really be put on a par with Uganda in the field of economic crimes?
- With the help of such surveys, in my opinion, it is impossible to carry out a correct comparison of countries. The companies surveyed by PwC can talk more or less objectively about the dynamics of processes only in their own country. But even when measuring the dynamics, it is highly desirable to use the same circle of respondents, which PwC does not do (now its analysts interviewed 210 Russian companies, two years earlier -120).
And international comparisons can only be made on surveys of companies that operate in dozens of countries. Only their employees can compare the situation in the sphere of economic crimes in Russia with the situation in Uganda or, for example, Great Britain.
So PwC's rating - from the point of view of an objective assessment - is just a bluff.
"SP": - That is, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation is closer to the truth?
- PwC - at least in assessing the situation in Russia - correctly indicates the trend. Another issue is that to feel the general deterioration in the field of economic crime, one does not need to conduct large-scale research.
As for the statistics of our law enforcement agencies, they are trying to show that they are working by the sweat of their brow, that's all.
SP: - Do you think that PwC is working on a specific order with its research?
- Yes, and the situation may turn out to be more complicated than it seems at first glance. Rating agencies, in fact, manipulate financial flows. And now, I do not exclude, they are preparing to collapse the ruble.
Judge for yourself. To seriously collapse the national currency, you must first pump up the country with foreign capital. And in Russia even today, according to my data, there is a significant amount of foreign capital, since it is in the Russian Federation that it makes serious money.
The PwC study, and the subsequent downgrade of the Russian Federation's ratings, may become a signal for this capital "urgently to exit!" As a result, the ruble will inevitably slide down.
"SP": - How much will the ruble collapse if capital runs out of Russia?
- The scale of the coming collapse, in my opinion, can be judged by the events of April 9. Then, let me remind you, the accusations against the Russian Federation from the United States, which declared Moscow's responsibility for the chemical strike in Syria, collapsed the Russian currency. In just three hours of trading, due to the risk of new sanctions, the dollar rate on the Moscow Exchange jumped to 59.8 rubles per dollar, and the euro rate exceeded 73 rubles.
By the middle of the day, the index of the Moscow Exchange, reflecting the value of 46 largest Russian companies, collapsed by 9.31%. The securities included in it fell in total by 834 billion rubles, setting a record since March 3, 2014, when the Crimean parliament announced a referendum on the annexation of the peninsula to Russia.
So, these April events, I believe, were only a prologue to the coming collapse. In my opinion, the West needed a trial balloon to test the reaction of the RF monetary authorities. And they were convinced that no one is going to block the channels for the withdrawal of capital from the Russian economy. If so, you can start playing big without risk.
And here you need to understand: the collapse is not a decline in the dollar exchange rate by 3-4 rubles. For international speculators to be able to make good money on the Russian currency, it needs to collapse to 80-85 rubles per dollar.
I think there are some signs - including the PwC study - that there is a lot of preparation for this scenario.