Digital currencies are also increasingly an issue for organized crime. The mafia in Italy repeatedly uses cryptocurrencies for its illegal business. “All criminal organizations, including those of the Mafia type, have an interest in using these instruments for their business,” said a head of the Italian anti-Mafia police Dia in an interview with the German press agency. The Dia investigates organized crime in Italy. For his protection, the commissioner does not want to be named.
The mafia entered the financial world because of this technological development, explains the slide commissioner in his office on the outskirts of Rome, which is decorated with documents. Transactions with cryptocurrencies are fast and offer security and a kind of anonymity – Advantages that are of course also useful for illegal business. It is therefore not easy to find those who are behind the trade. The police do not reveal figures on sales, police operations or damage caused by illegal business – investigative tactics.
Mafia organizations such as the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta use cryptocurrencies to trade with Latin American cartels, for exampleAs can be read in the latest report on the first half of 2020 from the Dia to Parliament. The ‘Ndrangheta is mainly active in the cocaine business and uses digital money to handle payments with Colombian cartels.
The report also states: “The Mafia also seems to be paying attention to cybercrime and the possibilities of the world of the dark web that are difficult to controlto inject huge flows of economic resources into the context of total illegality ”. In plain language this means: The Mafia moves enormous sums of money in the hidden corners of the Internet, the so-called Dark Web. There, payments are made primarily with digital currencies. The mafia can launder money or settle bills unnoticed.
Despite anonymity and global networking, there are still successful searches. According to the Dia semi-annual report, the police have strengthened their units that investigate on the Internet in recent years. The financial police and the Carabinieri, for example, are also involved in the searches. In Germany, too, cryptocurrencies are now part of the world of crime. “The use of cryptocurrencies for online payment in the context of criminal offenses in the area of responsibility of the customs administration has increased significantly,” explains the General Customs Directorate in Bonn when asked. According to the investigators’ findings, in most cases the criminals use Bitcoins and the currency Monero.