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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The idea of withdrawing 500 euro bill from circulation reappears in public debate every now and then. In 2010, the United Kingdom was the first to ban the sale of the note by exchange offices even though the country is not a member of the Eurozone. Now, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) calls on the European Central Bank (ECB) to reconsider withdrawing the banknote as it is a comfortable tool for mobsters to smuggle tainted money. On the other hand, there are countries like Germany or the Netherlands where the tradition of using tangible money instead of electronic one (like credit cards, cheques etc.) still prevails. So what are the main concerns that act in favor of withdrawing the purple bill?
The European Commission is developing into a major player on the fight against mafia and organized crime in Europe. Brussels’ directives made their mark against money laundering. Also final report of CRIM Committee on European organized crime added fuel to the fire. Now, the European Parliament puts in the limelight this problematic matter. As a result of recent increase of interest in this topic, in November 2015 in, under the auspices of the European Parliament „European Week for the fight against organized crime” took place. Our partner organization Cultura Contro Camorra was among the organizers and Mafia? Nein, danke! e.V. was represented by several delegates. Here is a detailed report on the event.
Recent years have been no sunshine and rainbows for Deutsche Bank – one of the most powerful worldwide-known institution. Next week, the bank will announce a record loss, the highest in its history: 6,7 bln euros. That downturn is surely correlated to many dubious deals executed by the bank in the past years for which it will be answerable now. But in this story, the most staggering is that, apparently, intricate criminal-like structures can grow only if equipped with the jurisdiction’s, tax advisors’ and – indeed – financial institutions’ support. Thanks to such a team, bank’s operations are susceptible to oscillate in the grey area, jurisdictional void, simply toying with rules and regulations.
We are selecting a new volunteer for the European Voluntary Service here in Berlin, with Mafia? Nein danke! e.V. “The volunteer must be between 18 …