by Prof. Dr. Arndt Sinn

Introduction: Organised crime as a global economic power

  • Hand in hand with the globalisation of the economy, the liberalisation of trade
    markets as well as the opening of the internal borders of the EU, organised
    crime has become a transnational phenomenon.
  • Benefiting from access to new markets with different legal and cultural
    conditions, organised crime has expanded its engagement in illicit trade
    significantly. Organised crime groups engaging in illicit trade have become
    very professional in exploiting the different legal frameworks and tax
    regulations in various countries to their advantage.
  • Additionally, due to the new dimensions the world wide web brings to our daily
    life and consumption behaviour and the increasing shift of trade markets to
    the virtual space, national borders do not constitute an obstacle to illicit
    trade anymore. The internet allows offenders to communicate and coordinate
    anonymously and across borders.
  • These advantageous conditions have led to estimations by the OECD that
    international organised crime annually generates around 870 billion US-Dollar,
    which accounts for 1.5 percent of the global GDP (gross domestic product).
    In Germany, for instance, the proportion of lawsuits prosecuting organised
    crime with international links is as high as 80 percent for around 18 years –
    with fluctuations of around 4 percent.