By Neil Halligan
UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office says money handed over to organisation purporting to be an established supplier
The UK’s foreign office was conned out of $1.3 million (£870,572) after officials fell victim to a major fraud in Dubai.
In its annual report, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said a fraudulent payment of $1.39 million (£889,840) was made in June 2014 to an organisation purporting to be an established supplier to the FCO.
Working with the National Crime Agency, the FCO located the $1.3 million (£870,572) in Dubai and it has now been frozen by authorities.
Officials believe they will recover the money in Dubai and a police investigation is still ongoing. However, the FCO said it has written off the $1.3 million “in its entirety because of the lack of the precedence of successfully recovering these types of funds”.
“Internal controls have been reviewed and action taken where appropriate,” the FCO said in its annual report.
A Foreign Office spokesman added: “Due to an ongoing police investigation we are not able to give details of the fraud. However no FCO staff have been implicated in the investigation. The funds in question have been frozen by the relevant authorities; we expect to recover them once police investigations are concluded. We take fraud very seriously and have subsequently reviewed and amended our processes to ensure they are as robust as possible.”