This case provides an opportunity to discuss principles of internal control, the process by which an entity's board of directors, management, and other personnel provide reasonable assurance that fraud and theft are prevented and detected. The case also facilitates discussion of the unique corporate governance and internal control environments in China, a fast-growing economy. Readers will be asked to apply the fraud triangle theory to identify internal control weaknesses and to design control activities for preventing fraud. The case is intended for beginning auditing students, but is also suitable for a more general audience such as accounting, management, and business students at the M.B.A. or undergraduate level.
The case introduces Bank of China (BOC) against the backdrop of China's banking sector. It describes the proliferation of non-performing loans in Chinese banks, the failure to report these loans correctly, and the way in which these conditions create a climate where fraud and theft might be easily hidden. These problems and the need for internal controls become evident in the description of a major fraud scheme at BOC. After relating this scheme, the case concludes by reviewing recent reform initiatives to modernize internal controls in Chinese banks.