Italy: Economic Crime and International Cooperation

Publication Date01 Apr 1998
AuthorMario Serio
SubjectAccounting & finance
Journal of Financial Crime Vol. 6 No. 2 International
Italy: Economic Crime and International
Mario Serio
It is a well-known fact, and one to which a large
amount of due consideration has been devoted
over the past years by a number of governments,
that the international implications of crime are
increasing and that, through them, a wide range of
serious criminal activities are perpetrated more
easily, more rapidly and more efficiently than
before. It is also a fact that the process is being
facilitated by the large-scale use of technology and
that the internationalisation of crime walks hand in
hand with its globalisation.
Not all governments respond as swiftly as
should be the case to the challenge posed upon
them by the noxious interrelation between eco-
nomic activities and their eventual criminal exploi-
This is partly due to the too frequently incon-
sistent state of laws in the different countries
where crime is conceived, shaped and whose pro-
ceeds are enjoyed by its perpetrators.
But it would be unwise and unfair to categorise
the matter as a painful example of ill-will and
chauvinism: the more so if one bears in mind the
numerous and significant successes against orga-
nised crime that international cooperation has so
far made possible.
It is the aim of this article to try to detect the
main reasons which, it can be anticipated,
amount to technical, ie legal impediments
resulting in the weakening of international coop-
eration against crime or in not allowing govern-
ments to keep pace with it.
The final conclusion to be drawn from the fol-
lowing remarks is that harmonisation if not uni-
formity of laws, whether civil or criminal, is an
imperative that cannot be overlooked if stamping
out crime at an international level is not to be a
mere declaration of intent.
First, not all legal systems agree upon the cir-
cumstances giving rise to the treatment of a par-
ticular asset as illegal; in particular they differ as to
the relevance to be given to two factors: (a) the
cleaning up work apparently innocent third parties
(such as financial intermediaries) may have done
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