Technological Mafia and “off-shore” legal activities – Existing Relationships Between Criminality And Information Society

Emanuela Pauselli


The first objective of this study is to provide a general overview of the utilization of information technology and telematics for the management of economic and financial flows on the part of criminal organizations, identifying those methods most commonly employed for such purposes. The professionals involved in such activities may be dealers in the various sectors of the market, and/or members inside the Mafia itself. The second objective is to categorize such people and to analyze in behavioral and ethical terms the mechanisms underlying such conduct and how such comportment could be fought.

The relationships among economics, finance and criminality, fit into the wider social and economic scenario. Therefore, this work considers the strong influence that the development of the Information Society has on money laundering techniques. The involvement of professionals in “offshore” legal activities, leads to some reflections on ethical and deontological aspects, which should regulate such behaviour.

The paper will illustrate the history of the Mafia criminal activity, the current relationship with the economic and financial sectors and the realisation of illegal income and money laundering.

Organised crime operates essentially reinvesting illegal capital with the basic intention of separating it from its illegal origins, so as to then transform it into legal operations: this is money laundering.

In the paper we shall describe the most frequently used methods to launder money, showing their technological evolution in the bank channel, in the non-banking financial services sector, and in other channels and sectors utilized for this purpose.

Developments of I.T. applications are deemed as a great opportunity to exploit, in order to carry out illegal activity or, in any case, legal only as regards appearances and form but not in substance as they originate for wholly illegal purposes. Naturally, money laundering methods have been subject to evolution which has led to the use of technological instruments (IT), information networks (CT) and professionals who are experts also in information technology so as to be able to carry out ever more complex and obscure operations.

In the paper will be explained the relation between network money and technological Mafia activities.

In fact, ‘The Network’ is the best reliable mechanism to foster new type of “on line” transactions or “real time” payments. The growing globalisation leads toward the introduction of a kind of payment system made of byte called “network money”. There are a lot of opportunities to invest directly through the Network because of the presence of ‘Brokers on-line’ at a very low cost. Unfortunately Mafia and corrupt organisations may use network money to support their crime traffics. In fact it is easy for a criminal organisation to develop a network money parallel system: it needs to create first of all an information technology operating system, then find the right software and financial know-how to build business and create or exploit a ‘connection point’ with legal networks.

The paper will analyse the professionals features and in conclusions ethics and professional behaviour.

We are used to think of Mafia and criminal organisations as formed by violent people deeply involved in murdering, stealing and drug trafficking. When we talk instead about “money laundering” we must take into account also another kind of criminal feature: “white collars”. It’s very important to outline that Mafia and criminal organisations, as real crime corporations have to count on managers and professional skills to perform their business. Criminal organisations are obliged to employ someone who has got also financial skill. Thus it is necessary to find a strong support in financial and banking system. Money laundering is made through Banks, Investment fund, multinational corporations, brokerage firms and other financial institutions with the help of insider very skilled people knowing very well where are possible choke points in the procedure, for each type of transaction.

Considering criminal organisations and professional features, we have to understand what is the reason of the collaboration and what are the ethical limits that occur into the relationship. Talking about professionals we intend workers in the field of Information technology, software analysis, financial and banking system and brokerage firms. Professionals who get in touch with Mafia have to understand how to behave themselves in front of certain kind of offers and as far as they can push themselves without incurring in penal responsibility. What could be the right answer to these situation? First of all is the conscience, second the knowledge of the situation (know your customer) and third ethics.