EUROPEAN ORGANIZED CRIME LAWS ARE UNJUST. CONSPIRACY TO LINE POCKETS OVER JUSTICE.
One of things we talk about over on our show, is the major differences between the United States and Europe as far as organized crime is concerned. In Europe the presumption is that your are guilty until proven innocent, whereas here in the states it's innocent until proven guilty. While we know those are differences, the way that Europe handles it's business as far as punishment is strange. For starters, there is no such thing at WITSEC in Europe. There is no deals for informants. Often times, these informants may shed a little time off their sentences, but the tax payers will NOT pay for informants to live cushy lifestyles like America has and will do for the foreseeable future. Informants are not protected, and are loathed in society. In most cases, and I have been shown very graphic photos not released to the public as to what happens to these informants. I can tell you, if you didn't think you could burn, behead, and dismember a body and fit it into a gym bag, you would be wrong. It's that serious of a crime over in Europe.
Europe has had it's own issues going after organized crime. Specifically Italy. One of the more unique things Italy has attempted to do, and been successful at, is following the money trail. We have reported on the sheer amounts of money the Italian government had acquired through busting in shell companies and more, but there is a little secret that most American's wouldn't know, and to my knowledge many haven't understood that attaining money while impressive, is also subject to interpretation. I've long said, to get convictions and indictments Italy must chase the money, but I had no idea, about the laws governing this, or what I would uncover. N'drangheta specifically has been targeted for the last dozen years or so, and as we see with the second biggest trial in history in Italy since the Maxi Trial, things are a bit enormous even for Italy to handle.
The Italian government has always attempted to remove the Mafia, but it's seen the backside of ugliness. The murder of police, judges, and politicians hasn't stopped the government from at least trying. In the last few months we have report the billions of dollars acquired by the government when going after different mafia groups. In Italy, and in most of Europe, if you associate with organized criminals, you will get arrested and will do 4 years minimum in prison. Mafia association laws, are a bit sketchy, but Italy passed Article 416, which states "Anyone who has mafia association is guilty of a crime, and that punishment will be four years in prison." The mere fact that you don't have to be convicted of any crime to have that assertion put over your head is a little suspect to me. Suspicion is the name of the game in Italy. Not all European countries have adopted this philosophy, but it's gaining traction. You might be asking yourself, wait a second, just being accused is enough? Well, what if I told you they could take your children from you just from being suspected of mafia association without being convicted?
Yep. This is one of the initiatives that Italy has used against organized crime. It doesn't matter if you are convicted or acquitted. If you are suspected of being involved, associated, in, have been charge and convicted, been charged and acquitted, the Italy government can come in and take all of your children out of your home. They can legally do this. It's definitely not a moral thing to do, but it's the one way that Italy has felt that it can at least control some of the narrative. But what about those aquitted? What about those just assumed to be associated? It doesn't matter to Italian authorities. They think it, you will lose everything. By everything I mean money, homes, everything, but we will get to that later.
CONFISCATION WITHOUT CONVICTION
You read that right. In the United Kingdom you must be found guilty for the government to legally take homes, cars, and bank accounts. In most countries that is the way things operate. In Italy? It's the wild wild west. In Italy, just being under suspicion, is enough for them to seize everything. If they seize your home, you children, your bank accounts, which is all based on assumption without the burden of proof, and you are found not guilty, it doesn't matter. You are not getting any of that back, ever. They can bankrupt you and destroy everything you have if they "think," you've done something. What if you cannot prove how you are getting your income? Easy, they take everything. What if at trial you can then prove where it came from? Doesn't matter, it's gone. The is less emphasis on burden of proof, then there is we suspect it, therefore it's true. Other countries like Finland for example are vehemently against this law.
In the United States, under RICO statues, if they find that money you have made came via organized crime, then they yes, can force you to surrender those things, albeit property, cars, accounts and anything associated with how you came about it. If you cannot prove your income it becomes a forfeiture. The RICO laws in this country are about as revolting as other countries, but it's nowhere near as bad as Italian laws concerning forfeiture. At least here you are arrested, indicted, and you go to trial. In Italy, forget it.
THE NUMBERS TELL THE STORY, ITALY LINES IT'S POCKETS
April 2013 Italian authorities seized $1.3 billion dollars from a wind turbine businessman named Vito Nacastri based in Trapani. He was accused of being the front man for notorious mob boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who I might add hasn't been seen in 25 plus years. In 2015, the confections without conviction was upheld even though there was not an official charge, indictment, or conviction against Nacastri. Suspicion was enough. The only criminal conspiracy was that of the Italian authorities stealing money from a wealthy businessman.
Between 1992-2016 $21.3 billion dollars($15 billion of that as a result of non convictions)($8.5 billion as a result of confiscation without conviction). The Court of European Human Rights Judge Francesco Menditto noted in a dissertation to the courts "that taking money was non punitive or punishment without trial, it is simply preventative actions." Excuse me?
If you look at the headlines the last few months, almost a trillion dollars has been seized by the Italian government, without indictments, without trials, without convictions. Italy is using this measure to essentially rob people of their money. This is the sort of thing you might see in a film about Medieval England, with over bearing kings taxing the piss out of it's commonwealth. These are the reasons that nobility was cast out of Italy and England for that matter. They lined there pockets, without any legal basis to do so, just because they said so. The bigger issue is, is that Italy feels this is the route to dismantling organized crime, but it won't be. It's not even about organized crime, as what it does to the citizens. You have a papacy rife with anti-mafia rhetoric, but none about the papacy allowing priests to ravage children for many decades without any compensation or regard. I might remind the Vatican about how they have used the mafia for centuries, but that will fall on deaf ears I'm sure. The point I'm making is, how can you justifiably steal money, making corrupt officials in Italy wealthier and stand by as they steal children away from parents just on a suspicion? At some point there needs to be a little oversight into how Italy conducts itself, and until someone holds the government accountable, human rights and decency flows right into the sewers.