Criminal infiltration of companies
It is nearing the end of yet another fast-paced week. A Swedish story started the week, which connects to a reoccurring, growing, and worrying problem of organised crime and infiltration of private/public companies and services. Criminal infiltration of companies is nothing new, but it highlights how efficient large scale money laundering can be if you have the right people in the right places. The example from Sweden describes how one of our clan-based OCGs (Södertäljenätverket) have managed to launder over 10 million euros with insider help. The basic set-up, in this case, required an employee in a bank able to approve loans. The loans were, in one part, tied to shady property deals, and an insider was also placed within the real estate sector to be able to draft property contracts. The other part also included extortion. The OCG targeted private individuals and demanded a large sum to be paid, 200 000 EUR. The extortion set-up included a negotiator who could work with the victim to find the sweet spot for where he/she saw a possibility of paying. The victim turned to the OCGs “man-in-the-bank”, who could approve a private loan to cover the ransom demand. The Swedish police arrested six individuals on Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated money laundering offences.
Organised crime groups target companies
That OCGs targets companies or relevant service providers that can help to launder illicit funds or aid in a criminal scheme is something that we see is reoccurring repeatedly. Briefly looking back this spring, more examples have popped up in the media. The large Mafia trial in Italy has revealed how billions of Euro has been laundered through London with the aid of companies around Europe. UK post-Brexit is an attractive jurisdiction to infiltrate since the sharing of data between law informant agencies becomes more difficult after leaving the European Union. We recently covered the infiltration of mafia groups in the oil sector in Italy. However, it does not stop there. OCGs are also exploiting the tourist sector and the gambling sector. A recent report from the Thinktank “Demoskopika” estimates that around 4400 tourism-related businesses in Italy are at risk of being infiltrated by organised crime. In Malta, OCGs originating from Italy managed, again, to set up a sports betting site that received money from cash-based over-the-counter bets (£62 million) in Italy that eventually ended up in companies in Italy and Germany.
The insider threat can be one of the more severe risks that a company or service provider needs to manage. Stopping it before it enters the door is the best and cheapest way to protect yourself. It often puts a lot of responsibility in the recruitment processes to identify indicators of unwanted characteristics. However, the insider threat can occur post-employment. Disgruntled employees can turn into criminal aids. Employees in attractive positions can be threatened or extorted to provide a specific service. Equally, not providing proper education and guidelines to staff can open the doors for criminals. Staying informed is a cheap and easy way to be aware of potential unwanted situations, so we will end with a few articles on the topics above. Should you want to dig deeper into criminal behaviours, head over to ThreatView. Have a great weekend!
Note to the reader that the Italian report and the Swedish article are native tongue, so pick your favourite translator service if needed.