ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2017

20 April 2017

Handcuffs and calculator on headlines about white collar crime

A University researcher whose work has made a significant contribution to assessing and reducing the global and national harm caused by organised and financial crimes has been shortlisted for a prestigious prize.

Professor Michael Levi of the University’s School of Social Sciences has been nominated in the International Impact category of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize 2017.

Now in its fifth year, the Prize is an opportunity to recognise and reward researchers whose work has made a real difference to society or the economy.

Cyber-enabled fraud and money laundering

During his career, Professor Levi’s extensive research into fraud, money laundering and organised crime has made counter strategies more effective in the UK and abroad.

Conducting the first large-scale analysis of the extent of financial crimes in the UK, Professor Levi calculated in 2007 that fraud was costing the country at least £13 billion every year, leading to further refinements in the UK and for the European Parliament. In recent times, with other colleagues in Cardiff, he has charted the impact of changing technologies such as cyber-enabled fraud and money laundering.

Research and expertise

His research devised new ways of measuring illicit money flows, and suggested that effective organised crime strategies in Europe needed to move away from using seizures and arrests as performance indicators, and instead focus more on reducing the harm caused by financial crime.

Professor Levi’s research and expertise has informed the fraud, money laundering and organised crime strategies of the UK Home Office, UK enforcement agencies, and international bodies such as the European Commission, IMF and Financial Action Task Force, and international accounting firms.

His work has also influenced the way that national governments and cross-border international bodies have developed and implemented approaches to tackle financial crime. His research on online gambling and money laundering was used by the German government when deciding how to extend its money laundering legislation in 2013 to include online gambling for the first time.

“It is humbling to gain recognition for what one tries to do as good citizenship‎.”

Professor Michael Levi, Professor

Professor Levi said: “I have been stimulated by the challenge of making sense of these difficult issues. If I have helped others develop more informed ways of handling some of the major crime problems of our time, that is a good reward for the efforts not just of myself but of the many practitioners and academic colleagues who have helped me with their insights.”

The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize ceremony will take place in London on 21 June 2017.

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