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.

Anti-corruption London Summit 2016 – more transparency in business activities needed


12 May 2016 London became the capital for anti-corruption activities – over 40 countries were represented at the Anti-corruption London Summit 2016. The range of participants varied from government’s appointees to non-governmental organization’s and privat business-establishments’ representatives. This year’s edition was particularly relevant due to the latest revelations divulged on Panama Papers, numerous tax evasions performed by influential companies and increased world’s tendency to fight organized crime and corruption. Germany was represented in a person of Heiko Maas, the Minister of Justice in Angela Merkel’s cabinet. One-day long meeting did not bring  breakthrough promises from the side of German authorities. Nevertheless, it enabled the countries’ dialogue and certain commitments were made, wich might act as an incentive for other states to take steps in the fight against corruption.

BitCrime project reveals the use of digital currency in organised crime


In May 2016, the European Central Bank (ECB) after months of discussions announced that in 2018 it would cease to issue the banknotes of a 500-euro value (yet the ones in circulation would remain valid). By this means the European Union wants to eradicate a comfortable „tool” for mobsters to smuggle tainted money. Yet nowadays tangible money is not the only method of performing illicit financial flows. With the introduction of virtual currencies (Bitcoin being the most famous in this category) the organized crime groups were given an alternative method of transferring illegally acquired assets. This issue was finally acknowledged by Germany and Austria – that is why they decided to launch a research focused on the use of digital currencies in the organized crime domain. The project’s name is „BITCRIME” and it will be founded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology with a total amount of €2.4 million.

EU Directive on the freezing and confiscation – help in the fight against organized crime groups?


Fighting the organized crime is a complex process that encompasses not only hunting down and breaking crime rings, but also making sure that any profit they have made is eventually seized.  The law has to unable criminals to freely dispose assets acquired in an illegal way. Yet according to a general rule all accused are „innocent until proven guilty”. Although in many European countries aforementioned rule does not apply in certain cases (especially in the criminal law where the burden of proof is shifted onto the defendant), the European Union decided to officially align its Member States’ regulations on that subject. Works on a directive started in 2012 and the final version was presented in 2014 – „Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union”. This document fits perfectly into European Union’s priorities for the fight against serious and organized crime between 2014 and 2017.