A conference on the links between money laundering and organized crime

On the initiative of the Department of Judicial Services, a conference on the links between money laundering and organized crime took place on Friday 2nd February at the Law Courts, before an audience of jurists and financial professionals. It was led by Gilles Duteil, PhD in Management Science, a member of the European research group on financial crime and organized crime and a legal expert at the Court of Appeal in Aix-en-Provence. As Philippe Narmino, the Director of Judicial Services pointed out in the preamble to the conference, the Principality of Monaco was welcoming Gilles Duteil within the context of the strategy to combat economic and organized crime, which it has been fighting since the 90s. From groups of juveniles in disadvantaged suburbs (the ‘dealers’ of organized crime) to the most established organizations, such as the mafia, Gilles Duteil explained that the running of these criminal groups is motivated by profit alone. During the last few years, these groups have gradually moved from trafficking drugs, people, antiques, vehicles etc. to more lucrative and less ‘visible’ activities such as VAT fraud or fraud against social welfare bodies. In Europe, VAT fraud has reached 35 billion euros per year, about 5 billion of which represents France’s share. Today, this criminality therefore represents the most serious non-military threat not only to the internal security of the countries concerned but to the economy as well. Money laundering therefore appears to be a consequence of this criminality: it allows the link between ‘dirty’ money generated by crime and the crime itself, to be erased. This is thanks to skilful management, which allows these groups to change activity or to circumvent the law with exceptional resourcefulness, worthy of the biggest commercial companies (teams of financial advisers, jurists, auditing firms etc.). Faced with this ‘law of profit’, the most significant judgments are confiscations or seizure of personal, residential or financial property, more than prison sentences which, according to the speaker, are just the ‘icing on the cake’. Gilles Duteil concluded his presentation by claiming that, despite the will of the international community to try and curb the spread of organized, trans-national crime, the methods implemented up until now remain insufficient considering the amplitude of the phenomenon. 

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