Monthly Archives

May 2017

The banker, the investigator and the shredding of documents. How valid are witness statements without recording the interviews that informed them?

“Kevin O’Connell got a bad feeling when he noticed the pile of documents in the blue plastic tray on the floor behind him, under the window in his office. It was the afternoon of May 1st, 2015, the Friday before the bank holiday weekend, and he had been having a hard time. The day before he had finished a six-day stint in the witness box, where, in the absence of the jury, he had been quizzed about his role as lead investigator into the actions of Seán FitzPatrick, the former chair of Anglo Irish Bank. Things had not gone well.

O’Connell was a legal adviser with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), the bureau set up in 2001 to target white-collar crime, and the inquiry into FitzPatrick was one of the biggest and most high-profile the agency had yet to deal with. Prior to this O’Connell had dealt mainly with summary offences at District Court level, but now he was in the big time, and the whole country was watching.

A jury was empanelled in April 2015 to hear the charges against the former banker, but rather than begin to hear evidence, they had been asked to go home so some legal matters could be thrashed out first in their absence. FitzPatrick was represented by Bernard Condon SC, and Condon was making a big issue about how the investigation O’Connell had headed had been conducted.

The case involved charges that FitzPatrick had made misrepresentations to the Anglo auditors, Ernst & Young, now EY, over the 2002-2007 period, in relation to directors’ loans. The amounts involved varied according to the year, but at one stage exceeded €100 million. One of the issues Condon was not happy with was how witness statements were taken from the two senior EY figures who had overseen the Anglo audits during the period concerned……”

Full article courtesy of the Irish Times can be accessed here.

IG Comment

Audio recording of any fact-finding meeting that relies on accuracy and detail is nothing other than a complete note-taking exercise. Even the best written statement or report that relies on hand-written notes is less than 50% of the detail captured. The question to be asked when written notes are taken is ‘why’? When they are shredded…..? We can only speculate as to the answer!

If you want to understand more about this subject and how you can protect the integrity of your investigation and interviews please contact us at, world leaders in Extraordinary Case Management (ECM®).

Thoughts with our extended family and friends in Manchester.

(Image rights –

Intersol proudly has its roots in Manchester, we learned our ‘trade’ in this great City, we have friends, family, and associates who continue to serve and protect the local community. The tragic events of the last few hours will bond not divide the good people of Manchester. Thoughts with the bereaved, injured, and their families, the ‘worker bees’ of Manchester will prevail!

Intersol Global Presents on “Advocacy – Preparing you to Win”. A workshop hosted by 9 Bedford Row, London.

Progressing their exciting new delivery partnership, Intersol Global and their recording hardware suppliers, AVET, jointly presented a workshop on ‘Memory as a Crime Scene’, the vital contribution of interview recording to detailed and accurate fact-finding investigation and interviewing.

Intersol, rapidly securing a first class reputation for Extraordinary Case Management (ECM®) as The Mark of Quality for any organisation that values reputation, that is serious about accurately informing decision-makers, and is intent on managing risk and brand, presented to a richly diverse audience from law, banking, regulation, and risk management on how memory is fragile and can be distorted and prone to corruption if not treated properly. The presentation reinforced the significant benefits of audio recording interviews and demonstrated just how much detail and risk can be overlooked due to limited or poor note-taking.

Link to 9BR media release can be found here.

If you would like to understand more how Intersol can support you and your organisation to reduce risk and costs, increase revenue and maintain reputation whilst satisfying the increasing demands of regulators please feel free to contact for a free, informal, and strictly confidential discussion.

At Intersol we ‘Professionalise your today and Protect your tomorrow’ 

No Legal Privilege for Internal Investigation Notes.

In a landmark ruling, the High Court in London has said that interview notes made by a company’s external law firm as part of internal investigations into allegations of corruption in Kazakhstan and Africa — are not protected by legal professional privilege.

Mrs. Justice Andrews’ 8 May decision which Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) is appealing, vindicates the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in its years’ long dispute with business lawyers over privilege and internal investigations. Companies have long claimed that documents created during internal investigations into allegations of wrongdoing, including interviews with key witnesses, are protected by privilege.

While the SFO respects the rights of companies to claim privilege, it believes some lawyers are making spurious privilege assertions over internal investigations to obstruct its inquiries. In a well-known interview in February 2015 with The Times, SFO director David Green said: “These companies call in outside lawyers, who make a lot of money by doing an investigation and are the first to interview key witnesses at the coal face, then claim privilege — it is absolutely ludicrous.”

IG Comment

Lawyers have long resisted disclosure of their interview notes, utilising the shield of client confidentiality and privilege, just as they have similarly resisted the clear and obvious advantages of audio recording their note-taking as opposed to written notes even though it is widely recognised that over half of the forensically appropriate detail is then ‘airbrushed’ from an account, an account that is often used by a decision maker to sanction life-changing decisions. Reasons why lawyers stubbornly resist this practice are many and varied, some only speculative but ‘if not now, when’?

Might this be the first steps towards a sea-change for the legal profession?

Intersol use AVET portable forensic recording equipment, evidentially secure, built from the ground up, and secure from viruses. Contact us for more information.

Full article courtesy of The FCPA Blog can be found here:



Intersol COO Delivers Internal Audit Training in Hong Kong

Intersol COO, Mick Confrey, personally took charge of the most recent delivery of training to a Global Bank in Hong Kong.

After successful back to back delivery of 4 courses to internal auditors in Hong Kong Mick is en route back to the UK for a brief rest before jetting off again to the Far East to facilitate more training and development on behalf of Moodys to a North American global bank whilst IG consultants deliver parallel sessions in London.

If you’d like to know more about how the Intersol team can support your organisation with the very best accredited fact-finding meeting (interview) management skills to better protect your brand and reputation and reduce your costs drop us a line at We help to “Professionalise your today to Protect your tomorrow”.

Safe journey home Mick!

Who Audits the Auditors? Is Internal Audit a fact-finding Investigation?

NOT so according to the strategic leads and advisors to the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) who take the view that ‘rarely is an audit an investigation’ and that ‘internal audit works in partnership with the business to evaluate the adequacy of risk and controls and make recommendations to management’. 

So lets take a look at the origins of the word:

The Latin word vestigium meant “footprint, track.” Joined with the prefix in-, the noun vestigium gave rise to the verb investigare. This word meant both “to track or trace by footprints” and “to study or examine closely.” Only the second meaning was kept when the verb was borrowed into English as investigate.

  • a searching inquiry for ascertaining facts; detailed or careful examination (
  • the act or process of investigating; a careful search or examination in order to discover facts, etc (Collins)
  • an investigation is a fact-finding exercise to collect all the relevant information on a matter (ACAS)

In contrast to the IIA, we take view that an internal audit is very much an ‘investigative’ process, one that starts with fieldwork to carefully study issues and examine facts, a fact-finding exercise to ‘collect all the relevant information on a matter’. Proceeding to the less technical, but essential phase, the audit meeting, at which additional facts are determined and opportunity for comment, discussion, and observation are facilitated, frequently exposing hidden risk and danger not thus far identified, and feeding into the audit findings report that informs the decision-makers, ‘working in partnership with the business to evaluate the adequacy of risk and controls and make recommendations to management’ (where’ve you seen that before?).

This post is specifically prompted by the recent news about the enquiry in to KPMGs internal audit of Rolls Royce, see

We are firmly of the view that effective workplace investigations and audit meetings (interviews) that are professionally conducted and quality assured realise and secure clear strategic business benefit and outcomes for your organisation.

They can:

  • Direct and inform organisational Governance, Regulation, and Compliance (GRC)
  • Protect your brand and reputation
  • Underpin your company values
  • Provide internal reassurance, consistency, and confidence
  • Preserve stakeholder loyalty, improving performance
  • Identify, reduce, and manage risks
  • Increase revenue and reduce costs
  • Increase public confidence
  • Energise, motivate, and empower staff
  • Support industry standard leadership
  • Reassure the regulators and avoid sanctions

 Conversely, failure to quality assure and professionally undertake those investigations and meetings (interviews), can attract adverse consequence for your organisation, causing:

  • Loss of critical information and exposure to risk
  • Irreparable brand, institutional, and personal damage
  • Stakeholder disengagement
  • Increased expenditure on unnecessary meetings and interviews
  • Poor value and return on investment
  • Reinforcement of poor practice
  • Inefficient resource deployment
  • Lack of internal and external credibility and confidence
  • Failure to adhere to regulation
  • Regulatory or criminal sanction

And could ultimately lead to


 Fact-finding workplace meetings ARE investigative interviews they are a search for the truth and checkable facts to best inform decision-makers. They are the ‘shop window’ for integrity and ethically robust workplace investigation.

Three global banks most definitely see audit as a robust information and fact-finding exercise, that’s why they’ve commissioned us to work with their internal audit teams to support them as they develop robust systems that properly and professionally challenge the business to ensure that risk and reputation are better managed. What is they say about the Coca Cola brand? Over half it’s value lies in the brand? United Airlines? Rolls Royce? How much was wiped off their values as a result of brand and reputational damage?

We can help!

Global Bank – A Case Study

Three imperatives for training combined for a global bank to secure the continuing services of Intersol to provide investigation and investigative interview (meeting) skills training for their globally ‘hubbed’ internal audit team. Those requirements were to:

  • demonstrate to regulators that they were strengthening the internal audit function and that the function served as an effective control
  • implement globally consistent methodology and standards of professional practice
  • support a new competency framework defined specifically for the global internal audit function that meant they needed to implement training that would support internal auditors to develop and enhance those competencies

For the first time, they were seeking non-­‐technical training designed specifically for internal auditors, training and development that was recognised as a particular need to help them shape the perception of the global function as a value-adding partner to the business. Intersol customised a 2-day ‘Effective Audit Conversations’ course that is being rolled-out to over 900 of that clients audit delegates worldwide. Intersol were chosen because of their:

  • ability to demonstrate customisation, proportionality, context, and applicability to the audit function
  • internationally recognised, award winning subject matter experts from audit, psychology, and investigation designing and delivering the training
  • global reach
  • experiential learning methods and applicability of the ‘tools’ from the course
  • alignment of course content with the IIA competency and the IIA International Professional Practices Frameworks

In addition to achieving the 3 imperatives above, additional business outcomes included a continuing reduction in costs, risk, and improved brand reputation.

Feedback from delegates worldwide has been consistently excellent and contributed to the launch of the first accredited vocational qualification for auditors

“I wish I’d had this training and skill years ago when I started out in audit, it’s absolutely essential and should be part of the on-boarding process”

 Contact for more information about this and similar GRC projects.That’s why we have launched the first global vocational qualification to accredit auditors to conduct workplace fact-finding meetings, an investigative interview by any other name.

If you’re reading this and would like to become a global lead, set yourself apart from the competition, and be supported by the very best at what they do please contact us at

Lie Detection, Lie Detectors Lie (Tell the C.I.A.) – Acknowledgements to The New York Times and to the IIIRg for highlighting!

“FREDERICKSBURG, Va.— In 1983, an Army intelligence officer made a desperate call to David Lykken, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota and expert on polygraphs. The officer said that he had just flunked two routine lie detector tests but that he hadn’t done anything illegal, and wanted to know if Mr. Lykken had any advice on beating the machine. Sure, the professor said, offering a few suggestions involving altering the body’s breathing rate and blood pressure at strategic times. The officer passed the next test easily. “The only hard part was learning how to keep a straight face,” he later told Mr. Lykken.”…………

Full article courtesy of NYT here


Lie Detection. There really is only one way to expose the non-truth teller or liar – cognitive load at the right times of interview and external or internal verification of what’s said?

Concerning that technology now nearing one hundred years old is being relied upon in so many jurisdictions, and concerning that in the UK, where law enforcement is crumbling under the cosh of austerity, polygraph is being increasingly advocated in the arena of sex offender management and relied upon to manage risk.

If you’d like to understand more how robust fact-finding interviewing and conversation management exposes deceit and lies please contact us. We’d be delighted to explain more and illustrate how lie-detecting technology might be productively embraced and applied from an intelligence perspective.