German and the Italian legal frameworks to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism


The International Monetary Fund has assessed the German and the Italian legal frameworks to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Reports have been published respectively in June and in February of this year. The evaluation of Italy is overall positive. Despite the high risk of money laundering, the country has a well developed legal system, authorities are able to undertake complex financial investigations, and entities involved in the prevention of money laundering have a good understanding of the phenomenon. Nevertheless, the achieved results are not commensurate with the volume of proceeds of crime generated in and outside the country. The use of shell-companies and other corporate vehicles for the purpose of money laundering and tax evasion is well known by authorities (especially by the Guardia di Finanza), however, more transparency with regard to beneficial owners is advocated. Particularly banks are considered vulnerable to money laundering due to the range of products they offer, the transaction volumes they handle, and the interconnectedness of the banking sector with the international financial system. Yet, the IMF does not call for the hardening of sanctions for banks, nor for the introduction of corporate liability.

Operation „Two Seas” – 11 tons of cocaine with an estimate worth of $3.3 billion seized


In the end of last month, the operation „Two Seas” came to a successful end exposing a multicontinental drug trafficking ring. The Colombian, Italian and US collaboration resulted in the seizure of 11 tons of cocaine with an estimate worth of $3.3 billion. The cocaine smuggling operation from Colombia to Europe was allegedly lead by Franco and Giuseppe Cosimo Monteleone who are said to be ‘Ndrangheta members with the help of local organized crime groups:National Liberation Army (ELN) and bandas criminals known as BACRIM. Each of the aforementioned organization was essential on the operational level and had its own role in the smuggling procedure: the former provided security for drug labs and smuggling routes to the latter that controlled the sea departure points where drugs were hidden in shipments of tropical fruit.

Norway – the least corrupted country in the world.


According to 2015 edition of Transparency Internationals’ Corruption Perception Index Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world. Until now it has been the most reliable and highly graded study in the domain of countries’ corruption rate. This year a new study conducted as a part of the ANTICORRP project (a EU-founded research group) has been released and surprisingly not Denmark but Norway is in the lead. The winner’s shift can be easily explained: the ANTICORRP research project founded by the European Commission re-evaluates the measurement variables in order to render them objective. Contrary to the Transparency International’s study, the corruption index is not measured by this specific countries experts according to each country’s domestic sense of what corruption is – the group studies publicly know data in the six big domains: judicial independence, administrative burden, trade openness, budget transparency, e-citizenship, and freedom of the press.

Is laundering money in Spielothekes possible?


Walking Berlin’s streets it is impossible not to notice the overwhelming amount of shiny, colorful „SPIELOTHEK” signs, sometimes placed one next to another. As an example: Sonnenallee in Neukölln, where the Spielothekes have taken over the reins. Something that – on the first glimpse – looks like a harmless counterfeit of western casinos, in reality might be the „habitat” of organized crime groups’ activities. It is suspected that the slot machines (the most common device in Spielhalles) can be tampered, in order to funnel money into the legal system. The study shows that from 2006 to 2012 the number of slot machines has increased by four and the sector’s turnover has raised by 40%.

Open call for two volunteers (EVS) to join MND, starting January 2017


Call for applicants: two EVS (European Voluntary Service) positions with mafianeindanke e.V. in Berlin. The volunteering period will start in January 2017 and will last 12 months.

Conditions:

Applicants must be 17 to 30 years old and hold a citizenship of a country participating to the Erasmus + programme. The economic conditions are established by the Commission and include the refund of the return ticket (with a kilometric lump sum), food and accommodation, health care insurance, public transport, online language course and a monthly pocket money of 110 euros.

OLAF to close record numbers of investigations in 2015


In 2015 the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) closed 304 investigations, issued 364 recommendations to the Member States and EU authorities and opened 219 new investigations. The growth of efficiency is due to the 2012 OLAF reorganization, which turned out beneficial – in 4 years the office has reduced the number of long-lasting investigations by half.  What is worth noticing is that not only Europe-based investigations were handled by OLAF (as examples: fraud investigation in an ecological project in Africa or evasion of anti-dumping duties in Japan and Malaysia).

VAT fraud – bait for organized crime groups to funnel money


In 1993 the Maastricht Treaty (the Treaty on European Union or TEU) came into force. One of its main goal was to create a single market where goods, people, services and capital move within the union as freely as they do within a single country. Undeniably, the opening of borders has brought lots of benefits (the ability to study, live, work and retire in any member state; unrestricted flow of capital, products within the European Union etc.), yet the „frontier-free” market is also a bait for organized crime groups that want to take advantage of custom duties’ and other tariffs’ abolition. One of the most common and profitable crime is the value added tax fraud (VAT fraud) where mobsters make use of intra-community laws in order not to pay the tax on products shipped to another European Union’s Member State. According to Europol’s estimate, every year EU Member States lose 40-60 milliard euros in non-paid Value Added Tax.

INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) sign an agreement on tackling transnational organized crime and terrorism.


23 May 2016 in Vienna an agreement on tackling transnational organized crime and terrorism challenges was signed between INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In November 2016 it will be submitted to the INTERPOL General Assembly for approval. Its main goal is to introduce a Joint Action Plan across six common areas: terrorism, illicit trafficking and organized crime, cybercrime, maritime and border security, forensic and criminal justice capacity, and institutional capacity.

MND part of the European Union’s project on corruption in private sectors


Until the end of the year 2017 Mafia? Nein, danke! e.V. will be a partner in the European Project: „The Private Corruption Barometer (PCB) – Drafting and piloting a model for a comparative business victimization survey on private corruption in the EU.” Together with the research group eCrime from Trento University, in Italy, the Center for the Study of Democracy of Sofia, in Bulgaria, and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos of Madrid, in Spain, our organization will support the creation of an indicator to understand the perception of the level of corruption in small enterprises.