Insights |Investigations

19th April 2022

How can AI support corporate investigations?

Its purpose as a preventive tool is well-documented, but how can AI actively support investigation efforts?

Corporate investigations can be a complex and lengthy process. The expanding volume of material that may need to be reviewed during an investigation has created a need to use innovative technology to tackle these issues.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is about simulating intelligent human behaviour in computers, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation. AI encompasses various technologies, such as natural language processing, deep learning and machine learning.

Managing large amounts of data is a crucial challenge during investigations, and the use of AI can power enhanced data analysis and document review systems. This is what makes AI a particularly transformative tool in the investigations process; it can improve, replace, and accelerate certain investigation efforts, and free up time for more complex tasks.

AI-powered document review systems can perform large-scale reviews, recognise patterns, group by subject and themes, remove unrelated documents, organise timelines, remove duplicates, and sift for relevancy. Casework can be accelerated as evidence is pieced together more quickly.

RAVN and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

Managing legal professional privilege disclosure can present a significant challenge in corporate investigations, where law enforcement and regulators are involved. In the SFO’s Rolls-Royce case, an AI document analysis tool, RAVN, was used to analyse an estimated 30 million documents provided by the company. RAVN scanned content that contained potentially privileged material 2000 times faster than a human and removed legally privileged material from admissible files – an incredible time-saving feat.

Through advanced data analytic tools, AI can more effectively organise, categorise, and analyse large, divergent data sources at incredible speed. It can locate and escalate relevant data for review, look for keywords and patterns, evaluate information, and collate a set of results. This reduces the amount of data requiring review, helping investigators focus on the most critical material.

AI can also integrate and query large datasets to connect seemingly disconnected data points, identify key patterns and report irregularities. AI can also proactively detect and flag potentially suspicious activity across platforms and systems.

There has been an evolution in the ways and platforms people use to communicate. This means that patterns may be more important than solitary pieces of evidence during complex investigations. AI can assess communications, transactions and interactions for suspicious trends, and help investigators recognise behavioural patterns across different datasets. These capabilities can lead to more effective evidence compilation and case-building.

Using AI-powered tools and systems in the investigations process can reduce the costs of undertaking corporate investigations in the long-term. It can expedite investigations and enable investigation teams to focus their efforts on more important aspects of investigative work.

Corporate investigations by ESA Risk

Our team of experienced corporate investigators is ready to support you with your investigation needs – from assistance with internal investigations to full-scale corporate investigations as an external investigations agency. We have access to digital forensics and data management technology, like RAVN, to aid investigations that involve large numbers of documents. Please contact Lloydette Bai-Marrow, Serious Fraud and Economic Crime Consultant at, on +44 (0)843 515 8686 or via our contact form for further information.


First published in the Parametric Global Consulting newsletter.

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