A tale of two victims

The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation has started an inquiry into an alleged irregularity at Vodafone (9th item). The police were called in after an internal investigation suspected that a large sum of money may have been misappropriated.

On the face of it there is nothing unusual about this story. Suspected crime; police called in; investigation: If a crime was indeed committed then the next step will be the justice system, possibly resulting in severe penalties perhaps even prison. That’s the way things are done in every accountable democracy in the world.

But Ireland is not an accountable democracy; white collar crime is very rarely investigated by the police. Irish financial institutions, for example, rob their customers on a regular basis with confident impunity. The so called Irish Financial Regulator never acts against these rogue institutions. When caught, they are merely required to return stolen monies.

What is it about this alleged crime that is different from the many other white collar crimes that are never acted on? A quick comparison may help to provide an answer.

On the 16th March last, the RTE Investigative Unit reported that a customer had been defrauded of about €585,000 by Friends First. The company, like Vodafone, carried out an internal investigation and found that a crime had been committed. But unlike Vodafone, they did not report the matter to the police.

Instead, they informed the Financial Regulator who also decided not to inform the police. The Friends First fraudster was quietly disqualified from the provisions of financial services for a period of five years. No action was taken against the company. The customer/victim was ignored.

The crucial difference seems to be that in the Vodafone case the company is the alleged victim whereas in the Friends First fraud it was the company who defrauded the customer. The comparison speaks volumes.

3 thoughts on “A tale of two victims”

  1. The difference between the PD’s/Galway Races FF (one and the same party) and SF… PD/SF crime is SO respectable while SF crime is so “non-U”. In a Republic crime should not be a class issue – in Bertieland it is.

    Gordon

  2. I was once in a situation where I discovered a signficant fraud and there was obvious evidence as to the culprit. When the organisation refused to report to police I took independent legal advice and was told even if I reported the police would not follow up unless the org. were chasing it with them constantly. Eventually myself and colleague got the matter reported through the correct channels and hassled them into a constant follow up.
    Lo and behold, police called not to investigate but to ask for the charges to be dropped! The fraudster was related to a police man!

Comments are closed.