Can organized beliefs lead to organized crime?

White-collar crime - corruption

Wolfgang Hetzer

To person

Dr. jur., born 1951; Studied law in Göttingen; Head of Division in the Federal Chancellery, Berlin.

Address: P.O. Box 02 77 33, 10130 Berlin.

Numerous publications on the topics: Organized crime, money laundering, white collar crime, police law, intelligence services, European criminal law, party donations, profit skimming.

The downsides of globalization

Due to the large number of current cases, it can no longer be overlooked that the financing needs of political parties and the power interests of politicians worldwide are correlated. The same applies to corporate profit expectations.

I. Criminal Energy and Political Practice

The subject of this article is not the mafia as a concrete historical and current Italian variant of organized crime. This term stands for a system of uncontrolled power and is therefore often used as a metaphor that also describes pathological manifestations of power, its abuse. In the following, it should be made visible that organized crime and corruption are not only characteristics of deficit, structurally weak societies, but that they occur in all political systems. Intact social systems with a functioning jurisprudence, parliamentary opposition and free public opinion can, however, develop effective defense mechanisms [1].

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  • Here are a few examples that illustrate the range of organized crime and corruption:

    One of the accused was the foreign minister of the republic. In addition, Roland Dumas had held so many high and highest state offices in France in his long life that they cannot be listed here. His position as one of seven suspects in the first trial against the former "state company" Eleven Aquitaine (including the company's former president, Le Floch-Prigent) is probably not the culmination of an impressive career. After all, since January 22, 2001, it was a matter of clarifying suspicions of embezzlement, acceptance of benefits and embezzlement of public funds. Between 1989 and 1993, the equivalent of around 20 million DM should be taken from the coffers of Eleven have been paid in the form of illegal "commissions". Most of the money is said to have ended up with the foreign minister's lover at the time, Christine Deviers-Joncour. The French public prosecutor, Jean-Pierre Champrenault, compared the methods of the Eleven- Leadership with the action of criminal cartels. The company's president and his right-hand man, Alfred Sirven [2], are said to have used Mafia techniques. Mighty people, like Foreign Minister Dumas, were made compliant with money [3].

    In March 2001, developments in Kosovo / Macedonia and the experiences between Bilbao and Kabul (and even earlier those in Central and South America) led commentators to the insight that, as noble and plausible as the guerrillas' motives may sound at the beginning, Over the years the political underground evidently inevitably turned into a criminal: "Freedom fighters are becoming organized criminals." [4]

    The former head of administration of the Kremlin, Borodin - close confidante of Boris Yeltsin and the Russian President Putin - was invited to participate in the inauguration celebrations of American President Bush when he was arrested on entry into the United States on the basis of a Swiss international arrest warrant [5 ]. It goes, among other things. In connection with orders for the renovation of government buildings in the hundreds of millions of allegations of bribery and corruption. The sums actually involved are still immense today.

    In Germany, an investigative committee of the Bundestag deals with, among other things. with the question of whether decisions by the federal government (especially when exporting several dozen NBC anti-aircraft vehicles to Saudi Arabia) under the leadership of the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl could be bought [6]. The former State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defense, employee of the late Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss, Public Prosecutor and President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Holger Pfahls, will inter alia. suspected of having acted against payment of several million DM for the benefit of the tracer exports [7]. The accused has so far escaped clarification of the allegations by fleeing [8].

    Helmut Kohl has admitted that for years he accepted money in the millions and arranged for it to be transferred to accounts that were separate from the usual accounts of the Federal Treasury of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He has disposed of these funds as he sees fit. So far, contrary to the provisions of the law on political parties, Kohl has not disclosed the identity of the donors [9]. The public prosecutor's investigation initiated against him on suspicion of breach of trust was discontinued after payment of a condition of DM 300,000 in accordance with Section 153a of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, this does not mean that the criminal allegations were unfounded. Rather, it is now clear that the former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany culpably carried out the criminal offense under Section 266 of the Criminal Code [10]. For reasons that are difficult to see and convey, the judiciary has refrained from opening the main proceedings. She made use of the procedural possibilities of a "noiseless" settlement (§ 153 a StPO) [11].

    With regard to the question of whether important data and files on the construction of the Leuna refinery, the export of NBC armored vehicles, Airbus aircraft and the sale of railway houses were deliberately destroyed or put aside, it is also publicly complained that the German public prosecutors all used their legal ingenuity to get rid of these sensitive cases instead of shedding light on the dark stories with the necessary professionalism. It is a "sad farce" that has structural causes. In principle, the judiciary does not seem equipped for the explosive mixture of politics and possible white-collar crime.

    On the other hand, enough evidence had apparently been gathered in Italy to bring the longtime Prime Minister Andreotti to justice on suspicion of a criminal connection to the Mafia. This fact is remarkable despite the fact that the results of the investigation were insufficient for a conviction. According to German criminal procedure law, the main proceedings can only be opened by the court if there is "sufficient" suspicion (Section 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure).

    It is true that these examples (which can be multiplied at will) may be completely unsuitable for illustrating the quality and extent of the corrupting effect of organized crime. At this point, it may also remain open whether it is about episodes or a worldwide functioning system. However, that does not change the fact that in many parts of the world it is not always easy to distinguish political parties, governments, commercial enterprises, the judiciary, the police and the army from organized crime structures. For example, the regime of the former President of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Milosevic, finally took on the features of a pseudo-democratic dictatorship in which politics, the underworld and the police could no longer be distinguished [12]. There, by the way, the political leadership was ascribed the responsibility for the fact that the Yugoslav army was suspected of having obstructed the Serbian police force when he was arrested on April 1, 2001 [13].

    In Peru, evidence has been confiscated which shows that a "mafia" has hijacked the state. The former head of the Peruvian secret service, Montesinos, is said to have systematically corrupted institutions, the private sector and the media in his country. The mainstay was the judiciary: It is alleged that Montesinos appointed judges and prosecutors and paid for favorable court judgments [14].

    In Japan, it is estimated that around 80,000 people who are classified as organized crime ("Yakuza") have one trillion yen (9.3 billion dollars) in the (up to now) main branches of the underworld (drugs and sex) Earned in 2000 (half from drugs and about a quarter from the sex business). In the meantime, however, it has become a bigger problem there that at least one large criminal organization (Yamaguchi Gumi) has sneaked into the country's "New Economy" and maintains political ties to the highest ranks of the government. In the July 2000 general election, she discreetly helped raise funds and votes for a large number of politicians from the Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori (who had been in office for about a year) and other conservative parties. There shouldn't be a single politician in Japan who doesn't know his local yakuza boss. A former senior Japanese policeman (Raisuke Miyawaki) in the fight against organized crime believes that the links between the Japanese business world and the underworld there are impossible to get to grips with because they are too extensive. In a globalized world, the growing participation of Yakuza members in the world's second largest economy threatens to affect Japan's trading partners in Asia, Western Europe and the United States of America [15].

    For Germany, of course, the conflict in Kosovo is even closer, where, according to knowledgeable observers, things are "only just getting started". Instead of a democratic constitutional state, one only sees a "criminally or militarily tightly organized entity" emerging - a development that destabilizes the entire Balkans. The state of Albania, whose leading politicians could not shake off the suspicion of making common cause with organized crime, remains "permanently deranged" [16].

    After all, there are now some efforts across party lines in Germany to recognize what is common and what divides this topic. Even between personalities with very different political convictions, there is at least a tendency towards surprising similarities. After Kohl had resigned the honorary chairmanship of the CDU, its former general secretary Heiner Geißler said he would understand if votes came from there calling for Kohl to return his parliamentary mandate. Kohl's silence about the identity of alleged party donors draws the suspicion on the CDU of being involved in organized crime. In view of the public prosecutor's investigations in Bavaria, Hesse, Bonn and Switzerland against leading CDU politicians or their closest confidants, it is easy for the Social Democrats and Greens to speak of a criminal environment with which the political opponent has at least come into contact [17] . With a view to the Union, a member of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen (Ströbele) declared that it was about the "highest form of organized crime" [18]. The chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Peter Struck, spoke of "facts as in organized crime" [19].