There has been a shift in the way criminologists identify organized crime, according to Transcrime senior researcher Michele Riccardi. Rather than focusing on individuals, his organization studies companies, with a focus on ownership structures and financial activity.
Riccardi explains how Transcrime uses company information to identify risk for financial crime.
Transcrime is a joint research centre of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. The organization focuses on money laundering, organized crime and in particular, organized crime infiltration into legitimate companies.
It tracks organized crime by providing users including public authorities, police organizations and private companies, with data, statistics and indicators about how risky a geographic area, business sector, or individual company is in terms of vulnerability to organized crime and corruption.
Key indicators for financial crime
Here are some questions the researchers at Transcrime ask when making their assessments:
- How opaque or complex is a company's structure?
- What is the distance between a company and its beneficial owners?
- Are beneficial owners controlling the company fully under legal structures set up in different countries?
- How exposed are the companies to offshore countries, tax havens or other risky areas across the globe?
"We are international, and also, our research is international," Riccardi says. "We think that organized crime is transnational by nature. That's why a country-specific focus is not enough to do research on this topic."
Transcrime published an EU-funded report that examines the risk of organized crime infiltration in legitimate business called Mapping the risk of serious and organized crime infiltration in Europe. Read how data from Orbis helped the organization uncover ownership information used in their research.