News

TAX SCHEME BLAMED FOR DAMAGE TO ARTEFACTS

Talk about serendipity! Lord Renfrew would be pleased to see this entry in the blog. He always felt that economic crime analysts paid too little attention to art and artefact smuggling. The theme of the article here is that the nature of the US tax system produces a particular system of looting of low value objects for donation to museums at a higher value to save tax payment. I think I understand it.
But it raises the same issues as the previous post. If you dont risk profile your legal measures, you can unwittingly invent a crime. [Discuss]
Its a serious final year exam paper we are writing this morning!

CHAVEZ AND FARC

Article that is part of a common genre: all opponents of the USA deal drugs. No real evidence, just a series of allegations by defectors and anonymous “diplomats”. Nevertheless, this is a proper subject for research, as it raises issues about the relationship between organised crime, the state and “terrorists”, insurgents and liberation movements.
Are liberation movements as likely to be penetrated by organised crime as state structures? How do the networks interact?
Does the fact that one group of border guards takes bribes from drug traffickers mean that the whole Venezuelan Army is corrupt?
Equally, if a local FARC commander facilitates drug smuggling does that imply connivance from the organisation as a whole?
These are legitimate questions to raise, but the evidence presented here doesn’t really answer them. I suppose its fine for journalists to be used by propagandists, but can an investigative academic researcher provide a theoretical framework and a series of empirical tests against which these questions can be objectively explored? or does it always depend on who finances the research?

THE ALBATROSS HANGING OVER GAZPROM’S FATE

Continuing coverage by Moscow Times of Mogilevich, Gazprom and RosUkrEnergo. What’s all this got to do with organised crime? Well, it provides glimpses into the murky world of silovki, oligarchs and crime groups in Russia, and also into the battle between oligarch groups in the Ukraine which link to the political parties and factions within them. Sadly, only glimpses, though.

POLICE SMASH PEOPLE-SMUGGLING NETWORK

Fujian snakeheads at the start of the route and a Turkish group at the European end. There will be more on this story tomorrow, I suspect. Classic cross-border networks and people one of several commodities smuggled.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY?

Coverage of the Securitas robbery continues, much of it feverish. Like an innocent, I always thought that this sort of report was against the law, because it prejudices the right of the person named to a fair trial. Somewhere in the last 20 years that appears to have changed. Anyway, for what it is worth, this is another account from the BBC of the ” mastermind” and the missing member of the gang.

It all sounds like a number of individuals recruited to carry out different roles in the robbery. Very late 50s early 60s.

JOURNAL OF FINANCIAL CRIME

The latest issue has arrived in my snailmail box. A couple of pieces catch the eye. Peter Gottschalk “Stages of Financial Crime by Business Organisations”, which includes our old friend Klaus von Lampe in the bibliography [which is itself excellent] and must therefore be extremely kosher! Peter discusses the stages of growth in organised financial crime and is primarily conceptual in nature.
Luiz de Andrade Filho “The Dynamics of Drug-related Organised Crime and Corruption in Brazil from a Developmental Perspective” also looks worth a read. Again it raises questions of how criminal organisations themselves develop.

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