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Corruption and Organized Crime

NCJ Number
Trends in Organized Crime Volume: 2 Issue: 4 Dated: (Summer 1997) Pages: 4-6
R Godson, W J Olson, L Shelley
Date Published
3 pages
This is an overview of a series of papers on the scope and character of organized crime's involvement in the corruption of public officials throughout the world; efforts to counter this trend are also discussed in some of these papers.
Many scholars and organizations such as The World Bank and Transparency International have made implicit links between organized crime and corruption. More recent studies of corruption have a number of distinctive features. They document corruption as becoming more global, and recent investigations in Italy have provided data that allow analyses of the mechanisms of corruption in ways never before possible. Another study maintains that the distinction between corruption and organized crime is blurred, as huge sums from corrupt dealings are transferred to major bank centers and off-shore havens. As the financial stakes increase, corruption often includes violence or threats of violence. The suggestions for countering the link between organized crime and official corruption include both a regulatory and a nonregulatory approach. Recommendations include specific laws and international agreements that prohibit bribery and conflict-of-interest; coordinated, systemic regulatory solutions that operate across borders; and international cooperation in recovering funds that have been exported to overseas banks by those involved in corruption. Other recommendations are nonregulatory programs such as mobilization of civil society to ensure oversight and accountability of officials, a media that allows journalists to investigate and reveal corruption, international expertise to assist countries particularly vulnerable to corruption, and greater safeguards on the privatization of state resources.