Tag Archives: organized crime

Dutch Parliament blocks Albania EU accession talks

The Netherlands is blocking the opening of negotiations with Albania on joining the European Union. A majority of the House of Representatives gave a clear opinion to the upcoming meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels on June, 25.

The decision did not come as a surprise, because Dutch lawmakers have already expressed serious concerns with organised crime and corruption in Balkan country.

“We have serious concerns about the fight against corruption and organized crime,” said Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok. “More progress needs to be made on these points first.” However Blok does not close the door for Albania to join the EU in the future.

The parliamentary factions of VVD, CDA, CU, PVV, SP and 50Plus are “forbidding” the government to agree on negotiations with Albania on accession, The Telegraaf newspaper reports.

Three of the four government parties, including liberal-conservative VVD, the party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, as well three opposition parties, have indicated that the progress of the Albanian government has not been sufficient to discuss the opening of negotiations. Subsequently Rutte has no mandate to accept the talks opening during upcoming European Council the end of this month, as it was previously planned by the EU officials.

The situation with Northern Macedonia (Severna Makedonia) is complex due to the name change, but there is no similar block imposed to restrict Rutte movements.

However there is a word in Brussels, that contrary to the EU officials plans, Austrian government will block the accession talks with N.Macedonia.

Albania occupies 91 place among 180 countries in corruption index of Transparency International.

 

 

 

Swedish city votes for ‘begging licence’

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven assessed the decision of Eskilstuna Council to introduce an obligatory  begging licence “interesting”.
Eskilstuna city council has voted for an obligatory licence for “passive” begging in the streets. The regulation was voted in by a majority coalition between the Social Democrats, Moderates and Centre Party in the council of Eskilstuna, a city west of Stockholm. The nationalist Sweden Democrats has agreed to the move, which was opposed by the Left Party, Green Party, Liberals and Christian Democrats.
The council’s chair Jimmy Jansson said the permit requirement was a way of better regulating begging with the aim of helping those living in hardship, rather than banning the practice.

It could help people “come into contact with  charity Stadsmissionen or other charitable organizations, or getting help to travel home again,” Jansson underlined.

The begging came to Sweden with a wave of migrants, and has become a business already back in 2010, however it has grown last years it became widespread, hardly leaving any supermarket entrance with a ‘professional’ beggar.

In Sweden, as well as in the other EU countries, ‘professional’ beggars  are often victims of forced begging, related to human trafficking. The decision of the Swedish city Council is in the line with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) encouraging safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.

 

Polish car theft network dismantled

Police have seized 55 cars and identified car parts stolen from Germany in a joint operation between German and Polish law enforcement. Since 27 February 2018 nearly 200 police officers and technical and forensic experts have taken part in operations in western Poland to bring down one of the largest organised crime groups involved in vehicle theft in both Germany and Poland. The Polish prosecutor overseeing the case has asked for assistance from prosecutors in Germany to help identify an additional 150 stolen cars. (Image: illustration)

The investigation revealed that the Polish suspects had defined roles and responsibilities within the crime network, such as stealing vehicles, forging documents, dismantling stolen cars and laundering the criminal proceeds. The main suspects have been charged with money laundering, where they used a complex scheme to conceal the origin of illegally-gained proceeds.

German and Polish law enforcement worked closely together under the supervision of the Polish Prosecutor’s Office in the city of Gorzów Wielkopolski. The Polish Asset Recovery Office also launched a financial investigation in parallel and confiscated criminal assets estimated to be worth EUR 1.5 million.

In connection with the laundering activities which allowed the criminals to transform and turnover the proceeds of crime, Europol’s Analysis Project (AP) Sustrans provided support to the investigation and the Polish Asset Recovery Office. Europol will continue to offer analytical and technical assistance by examining and extracting data from the seized devices.

Europol arrests forgery gang

The criminal gang is accused of facilitating the illegal entry of migrants – mainly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis – to and within Europe and the Schengen area, through the production and supply of false documents. It is estimated that the irregular migrants paid EUR 2 000 – 3 000 for each false document. Investigations revealed that the gang had been criminally operating for 10 years.

With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the Spanish National Police, in cooperation with the Hellenic Police and the Belgian Federal Police, have dismantled an organised crime group accused of facilitating the illegal entry of migrants to and within Europe and the Schengen area, as well as producing and facilitating false travel documents for use by irregular migrants.

Eight members of the criminal organisation were arrested, seven in Spain -including the leader of the gang – and one in Greece, as a result of a coordinated law enforcement action day carried out simultaneously in Spain, Greece and Belgium on 28 March 2017. In total, eight houses were searched – five in Madrid (Spain), two in Athens (Greece

) and one in Brussels (Belgium). This resulted in the seizure of EUR 100 000 in cash, numerous documents, money transfer receipts, data storage devices and mobile phones.

Investigation “Yoghi” began in 2015, when Spanish investigators arrested a suspect in Spain accused of couriering false documents between Madrid and Athens. Investigations revealed that the arrestee was a member of an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling with links in various EU countries.

Europol crack on Albania and Romania organized crime

Four individuals have been arrested as a result of a joint investigation between the Belgian and Romanian Police, supported by Europol, against a mobile organised crime group specialised in house burglaries. Up to now, the criminal gang is suspected of being involved in 40 different house burglaries with a prejudice estimated at more than EUR 100 000.

Three of the arrests were performed in Belgium and one in Romania. The latter arrestee was extradited to Belgium in early February 2017.
Composed of Albanian and Romanian nationals, the criminal network was extremely violent, attacking victims in their own homes when caught in the act.

On 8 March 2017, as part of a joint action day, three house searches were conducted in Focsani (Romania) by the Romanian authorities, with assistance from a Belgian magistrate and two police officers. As a result, jewellery, watches, cosmetics, leather goods and RON 23 000 (equivalent of EUR 5 100) were seized. In addition, five suspects were brought in for questioning as there is strong indication that the criminal gang was also involved in money laundering.

Europol contributed to the investigation from the very beginning by providing analytical support and facilitating the information exchange. An operational meeting was hosted at Europol’s headquarters, bringing together experts from Albania, Belgium, Italy, Romania and Switzerland to discuss concrete operational actions.