NEWS

Mafias show subtle differences, though much the same main interests in activities

Organized crime may show variations from country to country, with some countries much harder hit than others by its activities. Nevertheless, there are some groups that have expanded throughout the EU and are regarded as a threat: – The Albanian mafia: Considered to be a growing danger for the entire European Union, the Albanian mafia initially acted as middlemen between local organized crime groups that had been active within their own country’s borders for numerous years. But they quickly managed to prevail over, and in many countries to displace, «traditional» criminal networks and develop pan-European networks. The Albanian mafia is involved in a wide range of criminal activities, such as trafficking in drugs, weapons and cigarettes. To a large extent, they maintain their dominance by using Albanian communities, which have sprung up in all countries. They are considered extremely violent. – The Russian mafia: Chiefly involved in economic crime throughout the European Union, the majority of Russian groups launder proceeds from criminal rackets operating within Russia. They consist of criminal gangs that spend large sums of money on hiring experts to help them legalize illegal gains in return for very high fees. Apart from «traditional» modes of dominance, they have highly trained executives among their services, while they use bribery and corruption as weapons. – The Turkish mafia: Though in the last few years they have branched out into other criminal activities, drugs remain the Turkish mafia’s main commodity. Like the Albanians, they use Turkish communities of the diaspora as a springboard for expanding their activities and dominating local groups. Due to Turkey’s geographical position, and also the networks they have set up, Turkish groups have managed to control the drug trade at its source as well as the routes toward EU member states. Despite a war with other organized crime groups, their dominance appears unshaken. – The Colombian mafia: This is the main conduit for cocaine into the EU. The evidence suggests that Colombian groups maintain bases chiefly in Spain, Britain and Holland, controlling the trafficking network that is growing within the EU in collaboration with crime organizations of other national groups. In many instances, there has been direct cooperation between crime gangs active in the EU and their equivalents in Colombia, without the use of intermediaries in the outposts they have established in the EU. – Moroccan groups: They are regarded as a significant threat, though they have mainly been confined to Mediterranean countries. They are active in migrant smuggling and trafficking in drugs and are increasingly participating in the trafficking of stolen cars. – Nigerian groups: They are regarded as a significant threat, since they have developed noteworthy activity in fraud and have spread throughout Europe. At the same time, they are increasingly involved in all other activities of organized crime. They are regarded as a growing threat in the future.