The Italian Mafia is expanding abroad – and European police are unprepared

Business Insider | 12/13/2018 | The Conversation
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In 2013, the Europol (the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) published an "Italian Organised Crime Threat Assessment."

It attempted to fill the "important information gap" which exists around the activities of Italian mafias in Europe.

Arrests - Members - Europe - Step - Terms

The recent arrests of 'Ndrangheta members across Europe can be seen as a concrete step forward. But it also highlights how far we are behind in terms of understanding and developing a coordinated European strategy to follow Italian mafia money.

Members of the Italian mafia like to travel abroad - not necessarily for pleasure, but to make money. And the harm they are doing to European economies is often underplayed, trivialised or ignored.

Crime - Groups - Business - Opportunities - Home

Organised crime groups are good at exploiting business opportunities away from home. Companies set up for money laundering purposes distort European economies because their constant cash flow gives them an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

When I walk around London, I wonder how many of the busy nail bars, shops and restaurants are merely fronts for organised crime. For I was once told by a former member of the Neapolitan mafia: "The ambition for [an Italian] mafia member, is to go abroad, and particularly, England."

UK - Destination - Company - System - Membership

They consider the UK to be an attractive destination because it is relatively easy to set up a company, and its legal system does not recognise "mafia membership" as a crime.

Officials are fighting back with some success, however. In December 2018, hundreds of Dutch, German, Belgian and Italian police officers arrested dozens of members of the powerful Calabrian mafia, the 'Ndrangheta, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering activities across Europe. They also seized large amounts of drugs and cash from locations including Italian restaurants and ice cream parlours.

Warnings - Harm - Mafias

But is this too little, too late? Since the 1990s, there have been stark warnings of the harm Italian mafias can inflict...
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