Chair: Ugljesa Zvekic

Organized Crime and Illicit Markets/Trade Research in South Eastern Europe

Building: E
Room: 01


Author: Zvekic Ugljesa, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

Fabian Zhilla, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime
Title: Organized Crime and Money Laundering in the Balkans
The report “Crooked Kaleidoscope – Organized Crime in the Balkans” by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (July 2017) highlights the impact of organized crime on stability in the Balkans. It analyses how war economies funded by illicit activity have transformed into close networks between political, business and criminal elites. It highlights the vulnerabilities and opportunities of such elites within the context of renewed geo-political competition within the region. It calls for greater attention to the political economy of post-conflict environments to take advantage of a “golden hour” before groups involved in armed violence dominate criminal markets and capture state structures. It calls for stronger measures to enhance justice, and go after the proceeds of crime, including money-laundering and corruption. Regarding money-laundering, the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime has launched a study focusing on Albanian organized crime (AOC). There is an increasing awareness of the impact of AOC in EU’s cocaine market generally and the UK more specifically. It is alleged that majority of the proceeds of crime of AOC operating in the UK comes in Albania via different roots and forms. A sort of Hawala is improvised by large AOC groups with direct ties with Latin America. The study also notes that AOC with strong local connections in Albania will invest most of their proceeds of crime locally and to purchase political protection.
Keywords: Balkans; organized crime; political positioning; money laundering; Alabania-UK
Author: Sin Steve S., National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, University of Maryland

Anna-Maria Getos Kalac, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
Title: Organised Criminal Groups of the Balkan Region
The presentation provides findings of an investigation of organised crime groups (OCGs) in the Balkan region, specifically covering the relevant key context in which the groups are embedded in, including historical and current factors that facilitate the formation and expansion of organised crime across the region. It discusses in detail the most prominent OCGs currently operating in the Balkans while also examining several emerging OCGs in the region. The authors are focused on the OCGs’ areas of operations, key markets, routes, modalities, and networks, as well as providing a threat assessment of each OCGs discussed on their potential to be involved in illicit radiological and nuclear (RN) material trafficking. Thereby the presentation not only draws a clear picture about what we currently know about OCGs in the Balkans, but also about the likeliness of OCGs involvement in the RN black market.
Keywords: organised crime, Balkans, victims
Author: Freeman Tobias , Siracusa International Institute

Title: Strengthening the Fight Against Illicit Trade in South Eastern Europe
Illicit trade drives conflict and instability in many parts of the world, but it affects us all. To date, this security challenge has been addressed in a highly fragmented way, with sectoral responses to drug trafficking, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the illicit trade of tobacco products and other excisable goods, as well as cultural property. But such approaches do not necessarily take account of the increasing convergences between these related forms of crime. In an effort to build more comprehensive and holistic solutions, the Siracusa International Institute is conducting an innovative research and capacity-building project, Strengthening the Fight against Illicit Trade in South Eastern Europe. The goal of the project is to develop a more sophisticated understanding of illicit trade as a complex, cross-sectoral phenomenon, contribute to the development of more effective regional strategies to combat illicit trade, and foster regional cooperation. The project is supported by PMI IMPACT, a global grant initiative of Philip Morris International. The project aims to strengthen the criminal justice response to illicit trade in South Eastern Europe. Its foundation is a comprehensive regional study on the practical challenges and obstacles in combating illicit trade, engaging leading national and regional experts in the field. On the basis of this study, a range of capacity-building activities will be conducted in partnership with national partners in 12 countries.
Keywords: Illicit trade; South Eastern Europe; criminal justice; organised crime; corruption
Author: Haslinger Tejal Jesrani, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Title: Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans
Measuring and Assessing Organized Crime in the Western Balkans is an initiative carried out by UNODC with the support of the European Commission. The overall objective is to contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law through the fight against organized crime in the six beneficiary countries and territories of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo , Macedonia , Montenegro and Serbia. This is challenging because the very nature of organized crime is that by its methods and means of operation (often within legitimate markets) it can remain a relatively ‘hidden’ phenomenon. Existing information on organized crime can often be limited to operational reports and case studies and while these represent key points of knowledge, the reality is that gaps still remain. Currently, there are very few comprehensive data sets on organized crime that allow for quantification, assessment and analysis. Crucially, it is the development of a strong, comprehensive and comparable set of data that can strengthen our understanding of organized crime and subsequently – strengthen our responses to it. The project’s aim is to address the aforementioned challenges with respect to enhancing the understanding of the nature and evolution of organized crime.
Keywords: organized crime; Western Balkans; statistics; data
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