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European Union: Parliamentary Committee on Organized Crime and Money Laundering

(Oct. 19, 2012) In March 2012, the European Parliament established a Special Committee on Organized Crime, Corruption, and Money Laundering (COCCML) with the mandate of making recommendations to tackle organized crime across the European Union. On October 1, 2012, the COCCML presented its first document, designed to highlight the different approaches to organized crime among the EU Member States. (European Parliament, Special Committee on Organized Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering, Working Document on Organized Crime, EUROPA (Oct. 1, 2012).)

The COCCML noted that there are a number of legislative instruments at the EU level that define organized crime and are designed to combat its various forms, and it also noted the fact that all EU Member States have been affected to some extent by such crime. However, the EU and its <?Member States have neither adopted a uniform definition of organized crime, nor put in place similar legislative approaches to the problem. Italy, the epicenter of mafia-type crime, has adopted a special criminal code to combat such crime, while other countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, have no special legislation. (Id.) Instead, the law enforcement agencies of these two Nordic countries rely on the EU’s current multifaceted definition of organized crime. (Lars Korsell & Paul Larsson, Organized Crime the Nordic Way, 40:1 CRIME & JUSTICE 525 (Aug. 2011).)

The COCCML therefore paid particular attention to methods and procedures used in Italy, as models. For instance, the prison system in Italy that isolates perpetrators of organized crime, the so-called hard jail, has proven an effective method for preventing mafia bosses from communicating and giving orders to subordinates from prison. Another example of interest to the COCCML is the Italian provisions on confiscation of property and other assets; the confiscation can be done prior to conviction as a preventive measure. (Working Document on Organized Crime, supra.)

The key recommendations on organized crime made by the COCCML to the European Parliament include the following:

· formulation of an EU-wide definition of mafia-type organized crime and criminalization of organized crime in all EU Member States;

· seizure of criminal assets, including real property, vehicles, etc., before conviction as a preventive measure and their use for the benefit of the community;

· establishment of an EU prosecutor as mandated by the Lisbon Treaty;

· adoption of new rules on public procurement to exclude from participation those convicted by a final court judgment for having a role in organized crime; and

· an increase in the use of new technologies, such as satellite observation, in fighting organized crime. (Id).