Europe Hosts Mafia-states

Published by Moises Naim in New Europe | 07.05.2012

An analysis of “mafia states”, indicated some of the European countries as such, and government officials as key players.

Dr Moises Naim, author of the analysis, heavily slammed the EU candidate Montenegro, saying that government officials are in some cases even leaders of criminal enterprises. According to the analysis, other mafia states are Bulgaria, Guinea-Bissau, Myanmar, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Naim also pointed out that austerity is helping criminal organisations acquire potentially valuable companies at bargain prices, legitimising parts of their operations and providing them with a vessel to laundry dirty money. He added that austerity stricken governments are cutting law enforcement budgets, stimulating corruptive practices at all levels.

Analysis, published by Foreign Affairs Magazine, pointed out that criminals have penetrated governments to an unprecedented degree, but that also some governments have taken over illegal operations from the organised crime. In a mafia state, such as Bulgaria, Guinea-Bissau, Montenegro, Myanmar, Ukraine, and Venezuela, high government officials actually became integral players in, and often leaders of, criminal enterprises, and the defence and promotion of their businesses became public priorities, Naim argued.

“In mafia states, government officials enrich themselves and their families and friends while exploiting the money, muscle, political influence, and global connections of criminal syndicates to cement and expand their own power,” analysis reads.

Indeed, Naim pointed out that some of the world’s most profitable illicit enterprises are no longer ran only by professional criminals, but a rather versatile combination of senior government officials, lawmakers, spies, heads of police departments, military officers, and, in some extreme cases, even heads of state or their family members.

In section titled “The Mafia Has The Country”, reminding dangerously of the Godfather II movie, Naim also pointed out that the Council of Europe alleged in a 2011 report that Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his political allies exert “violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics” and occupy important positions in “Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime.”

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