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Episode 8: The CPA’s role in fighting corruption and money laundering

What can the current situation in Russia and Ukraine teach us about corruption? Listen to two CPAs discuss the role that professional accountants can play in the fight against corruption and money laundering.

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The rise in globalization and the ever-increasing sophistication of corruption schemes have exponentially expanded the scope of the professional accountant’s role. The challenges CPAs currently face are significantly different from those encountered 20-25 years ago. It is important that CPAs rise to this challenge and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to effectively combat misconduct at both a local and global level.

Our first guest, José Hernandez is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ortus Strategies, a consulting firm that helps companies rebuild ethics and compliance programs. Prior to this, he founded FGI Europe and has been closely involved in unraveling many high-profile corruption cases over the past two and a half decades. He frequently offers expert testimony to legislatures, parliament, and governments on combatting corruption.

“The first lesson is that accepting, tolerating corrupt regimes for an extended period of time, does inflict a tremendous human toll” says José, “in many ways, we’ve become too complacent… We really have to fight, and as accountants, custodians of this financial system. We need to fight even harder.”

Michele Wood-Tweel speaks to the need for legislation to keep up with the ever-evolving practices of financial criminals, particularly in this country. Michelle is CPA Canada's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and supports the council of chief executive's public trust committee.

“Corruption is ramping up across the globe and Canada is not immune. In the CPA profession, we have to be aware that the risk is ever-present.” Michele comments, “we have to be super aware of what is taking place. We have to rise to the occasion to make sure that we're asking the right questions.”

Episode 8 explores the responsibility of the CPA role in a global effort to combat corruption.

View transcript

In this episode

  • What the current situation in Russia/Ukraine can teach us about corruption. (1:32)
  • The impact of international fraud on accountants. (2:50)
  • The SNC Lavalin case and the role accountants played. (4:34)
  • How corruption has changed in the last few decades. (6:00)
  • New challenges CPAs are facing. (8:29)
  • How the Canadian government is trying to keep up with money laundering, particularly with the rise in virtual currency. (15:56)
  • Examples of money laundering within Canada and what it means for Canadian accountants. (19:26)
  • What to look out for as a CPA and how to stay on top of these rapid changes. (21:27)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect those of CPA Canada.