The INTERPOL Cooperation Against ‘Ndrangheta (I-CAN) project was launched on Thursday, a joint initiative with Italy to combat the increasingly insidious and global threat of mafia-type crime.
Funded by the Italian Department of Public Security, the project will focus on the ‘Ndrangheta which is the most extensive and powerful criminal organization in the world, INTERPOL said.
Present in 32 Countries, 17 of which are European, the ‘Ndrangheta is supported by its enormous financial power built mainly on drug trafficking, corruption and the diversion of public funds through fraud and rigged contracts.
“We need a global approach to counter a global threat. We have promoted a targeted project with INTERPOL for a global attack to eradicate it, involving the State Police, the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza,” said Prefect Vittorio Rizzi, Deputy Director General of Public Security.
INTERPOL said while the project will initially be focusing on specific countries, the ultimate goal of the I-CAN project is to enhance the ability of law enforcement worldwide to more effectively identify and combat mafia-type organizations.
I-CAN will be developed across three pillars;
- Content – Building on Italy’s direct experience and knowledge of the threat posed by Ndrangheta, its structure and how it operates.
- Access – Making this vital policing information available to the targeted countries, in order to identify patterns, trends and potential targets for law enforcement.
- Action – Coordination of joint investigations with national law enforcement to identify and arrest individuals wanted in connection with Ndrangheta-linked activities.
“The Ndrangheta is among the richest and most powerful organized crime groups. It has repeatedly proven its skill in infiltrating political and economic environments, and a remarkable capacity for corruption,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
“Whilst there have been successes at the bilateral level, the I-CAN project will see increased cooperation and operational activity between countries using INTERPOL as a global platform,” added the INTERPOL Chief.
How the ‘Ndrangheta works
Profits are reinvested using sophisticated money laundering techniques. In many countries what appears to be ‘clean’ funding eventually has the effect of polluting, corrupting and strangling the economy as it changes the mechanisms of competition and drives honest entrepreneurs out of the market.
The control of public procurement does not usually involve violence or intimidation but is through the establishment of companies which use collusion and corruption.
The ‘Ndrangheta has acquired direct or indirect control of companies operating across all areas of society including the construction, catering, import and export, transport, gaming and betting, waste collection and disposal businesses.
Taking advantage of advances in technology, the ‘Ndrangheta also uses the deepweb and Darknet to carry out illicit commerce.