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7/19/17

Mafia money pollutes the EU economy - by E. Bianchini, M. Castigliani, G.Pipitone, M.Portanova

Major profits from large-scale illegal activities have to be laundered to enter the so-called clean economy.

The money laundering itself is increasingly done by external specialised groups, which take a 5-8 percent cut for the service, Europol, the EU's police agency, says.

When only considering the Italian mafias, a 2016 report by the EU's judicial cooperation agency, Eurojust, notes their infiltration into the legitimate economy in "Spain (particularly favoured by the Italian Camorra), the Netherlands, Romania, France, Germany, and the UK."

They are doing this primarily through "real estate investments and participation in public or private contracts, particularly in the field of construction, public utilities and waste disposal," the report says.

The Transcrime Organized Crime Portfolio (OCP), edited by Paolo Savona and Michele Riccardi, also notes "cases of organised crime investments were found in almost all EU member states (24 out of 28)", predominantly in Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and Romania.

Dirty money, the OCP study says, is mostly "in areas with a historically strong presence of organized crime groups (e.g. southern Italy), in border regions, or in areas which may play a crucial role in illicit trafficking (e.g. Andalusia, or Rotterdam and Marseille with their harbours), large urban areas (e.g. London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin) and tourist or coastal areas (e.g. Côte d’Azur, Murcia, Malaga or European capitals).

Southern Spain, for example, attracts dirty money from Italian mafias, Russian criminals and northern European biker gangs.

In recent years, criminal investments focused on "renewable energy, waste collection and management, money transfers, casinos, VLT, slot machines, games and betting".

The cornerstone of the fight against organised crime is undoubtedly an EU directive from 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime in the EU.

On 7 October 2016, the EU parliament approved the report on the fight against corruption, prepared by an Italian MEP, Laura Ferrara, which partially adopts the work of Alfano's special committee.

The report's 35 pages echoes the same wish-list to the EU commission, that the offence of "criminal association regardless of consummation of criminal ends" should be punishable.
And yet, there has still been very little progress. It's like a broken record.

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