Edinburgh Fringe Festival victim of fraud

A sophisticated fraudster has stolen GBP220,000 (€308,500) from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society (EFFS) over an eight year period. The recently uncovered crime, committed by an ex-employee, has been reported to the Scottish Police.

‘We have been a victim of a sophisticated fraud campaign conducted by one individual in a position of responsibility over an extended period of time,’ said EFFS chief executive Kath Mainland.

‘The amount of money involved in any given year was, on average, less than one per cent of the Fringe Society’s annual turnover and not operationally impactful. We do take matters such as this very seriously.’

Mainland added that the entire amount has now been recovered from the individual in question, who used a series of complex financial disbursements to remove the money without detection.

‘The disappointment at having identified the crime is certainly alleviated by our success in recovering the funds swiftly and being able to move on,’ added Mainland.

EFFS has now appointed independent forensic accountants to review its financial systems in order to identify any problem areas and prevent fraud being committed in the future. Mainlaind said that the fraud would be discussed during EFFS’s annual general meeting in August.

The announcement comes just 11 days before the world’s largest arts festival is due to open. Over 3,000 shows are scheduled, totalling around 50,000 performances running from 7 – 31 August.

EFFS offers support for performers and helps regulate the festival – however, it plays no part in vetting the performers themselves.