Deloitte strengthens forensics tech team with new key appointments

06 December 2018 4 min. read

Deloitte has consolidated its Middle East forensic technology credentials with new additions Nick Athanasi and Muzzi Ebrahim.

Following Deloitte’s recent partner conference in the Middle East, where the Big Four leader celebrated the addition of 30 new partners and directors in the region for 2018, the firm has announced the appointment of new partner Nick Athanasi as Forensics Technology Leader together with Muzzi Ebrahim who will serve as Director of Data Analytics. The new leaders have transferred from the UK and South Africa respectively.

With the advent of the digital revolution disrupting just about every industry worldwide, and in particular the financial services sector as an early adopter, the criminal landscape is also evolving – fresh technology bringing significant new risks of financial fraud, data theft, and cyber-crime. To fight fire with fire, technologies such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are also being developed to combat such crime – with expertise in high demand.

This demand has been reflected in a recent flurry of specialist leadership appointments by some of the biggest advisory players in the Middle East – where, Deloitte reported earlier this year, companies are beginning to drop their guards in preventative financial crime measures. In the back half of this year alone, FTI Consulting has appointed ex-EY executives Paul Walker and Muthmainur Rahman to head up its local Forensic Technology division, while Alvarez & Marsal brought in Ghazanfar Shah as a Senior Director in its Disputes and Investigations practice and Navigant added Jacqui Record and Kassem Younes as managing and associate directors of theirs.Nick Athanasi and Muzammil Ebrahim - Deloitte

Deloitte, which next to consulting reported Risk Advisory as its second fastest growing service line in its $43.2 billion global record revenues for 2018 (the EMEA region contributing with growth of 15.9%), has upped the ante in the region’s forensics technology landscape once again, bringing in seasoned experts Nick Athanasi and Muzzi Ebrahim - with the pair boasting close to 45 years of tech consulting and leadership experience between them.

Nick Athanasi

Crossing from the Big Four firm’s UK branch where he has served as a Director of its Forensic Technology practice over the past three years – leading numerous high-profile and complex fraud and regulatory investigations in the UK and Europe – Athanasi has altogether 23 years of experience in all aspects of forensic technology, and a 30 year history in the technology and financial services consulting domain.

Kicking off his career as a technology consultant for Marsh & McLennan (the parent of Oliver Wyman), Athanasi after seven years joined BSG Consulting, where with a pair of colleagues he led a successful management buyout of BSG’s legal services division to form G3 Consulting – serving as a director with G3 for the following nine years before its acquisition by FTI Consulting in late 2006. Athanasi then spent nearly eight years as a Managing Director with FTI in London, before ultimately joining Deloitte in 2016.

Muzzi Ebrahim

Ebrahim meanwhile joins the Middle East Data Analytics team as a director from Deloitte’s South African branch, where over five years from 2013 he rose to lead its Risk Advisory practice, along the way developing the firm’s Regulatory Analytics and Financial Crime capabilities. Prior to joining Deloitte, Ebrahim across five years served as a Senior Manager in the Risk department of Standard Bank and as a Business Technology Strategist with Rand Merchant Bank, graduating with an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011.

Neil Hargreaves, Deloitte’s Middle East Forensic leader said; “Bringing in talent from the global Deloitte network is a key priority to cater to the local market needs by leveraging our global expertise and knowhow. Computer forensics, eDiscovery and data analytics are integral parts of our forensic services to clients, Nick and Muzzi bring their global expertise to assist our clients in the Middle East with some of their most challenging issues around fraud and abuse, financial crime and regulatory enforcement.”