ICC Commercial Crime Services celebrates 25 years of crime fighting

  • 19 September 2006

This month ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) celebrates 25 years of combating commercial crime.

Starting out as an ambitious experiment hoping to curb one particular type of commercial crime, CCS has grown dramatically since first opening its doors on 1 January 1981.

Captain Pottengal Mukundan, Director of CCS stated: “In the past twenty five years CCS has taken great leaps in size and stature. What was once a small, little known, office has evolved into three substantial units addressing a large cross section of commercial crime and deeply involved in the protection of international trade.”

Now a significant and comprehensive operation, CCS is currently composed of three crime-fighting departments: International Maritime Bureau, Financial Investigation Bureau, and Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau. Over the last quarter of a century, CCS has assisted members by alerting them to fraud and commercial crime threats, working with them to prevent fraud, and informing them how to protect their business. Once a fraudulent act has taken place, CCS also takes an active role by investigating the circumstances of the loss, identifying culprits and assisting with the recovery of assets. Over the years, actions taken by CCS have saved members billions of dollars.

The role that CCS has played in developing meaningful crime-fighting legislation has also evolved. The organization has expanded its influence on the world stage by working closely with local police forces and key global agencies such as Interpol and the United Nations. It has helped promote numerous new initiatives aimed at reducing commercial crime.

CCS is hosting an event at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, to mark this important anniversary. Celebrations include a ‘Global Forum on Maritime Piracy’ and CCS’s 7th Economic Crime Lecture on the subject of ‘Combating Financial Fraud’. Events will conclude with a dinner to be attended by many longstanding CCS supporters and members, who will be joined by a host of influential business and law enforcement figures from around the world.

Among the many firsts attributed to CCS over the past twenty five years was the invention of a system known as ‘umbrella investigations’. This complete system pulled all the pieces of individual frauds together, identifying links and those responsible. It then brought the size and extent of problems to the attention of a world audience. Without CCS ‘umbrella investigations’, the world might never have fully appreciated the danger of phantom ships, ship deviations, and Nigerian oil frauds.

CCS was also the first to draw attention to the problem of Financial Instrument Fraud, which by the early 1990’s was costing unsuspecting investors millions.

CCS is also well known for its ongoing efforts to counter-attack the growing menace of modern piracy on the high seas. By establishing the first dedicated reporting centre to confront piracy, CCS has been at the forefront of monitorring incidents, issuing warnings and reporting current and emerging hotspots. The anti-piracy initiative has proved highly effective and is a unique example of business and law enforcement working together against international crime.

As a not-for-profit organization free from conventional commercial pressures, and with its unique backing from the International Chamber of Commerce – the World Business Organization – CCS holds an enviable reputation for getting results from governments and law enforcement agencies throughout the world.