Germany is ‘Europe’s Washing Machine’ for Criminals Facilitating Laundering of Billions of Euros Every Year

January 30, 2024

The Federal Ministry of Interior Germany estimates there are more than 1,000 active members of the Italian Mafia in Germany. Of these, 519 are members of the ‘Ndrangheta, 134 are associated with the Cosa Nostra, and 118 are affiliated with the Camorra, as Editorial Network Germany (RND) reported.

It is estimated that more than €100 billion is involved in money laundering, every year. Germany is ‘Europe’s washing machine’ for criminals, said, Marcel Emmerich, the chairman of the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag Interior Committee.

Emmerich stated,

“The mafia is spinning its web in Germany today as well as in large parts of Italy.”

The number of active members in the mafia is increasing every year. An increase of 87 individuals was noted compared to the previous year, as highlighted in a short inquiry by the Green parliamentary group/EFA in the European Parliament. They are highly involved in the catering field, food trade, and the automobile industry, as reported.

‘Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra, and Camorra are three distinct Italian criminal organizations commonly known as Mafia and belong to Calabria, Sicily, and Campania respectively.  ‘Ndrangheta is the most powerful mafia in Europe and one of the deadliest organized crime groups in the world.

In response to the Green party’s inquiry, the Federal Ministry of Interior reportedly stated,

“According to the survey by the Federal Criminal Police Office, together with the state criminal investigation offices of the federal states, a total of 1,003 suspected members of Italian organized crime living permanently in Germany were identified for the year 2022.”

The Interior Ministry further revealed that the mafia was involved in criminal offenses like illegal drug trafficking, money laundering, and tax evasion. About €2.3 million were discovered in criminal proceeds, with only €683,000 seized.

As per the report, the ministry couldn’t reveal information about the number of criminal cases against the mafia or the actual profits obtained.

To counter such challenges, prohibiting cash transactions for real estate is an initial step.

“It is also necessary to set up an exit program to show those affected a way out and to weaken the structures of organized crime.”

Emmerich reportedly stated.

“We have to pool competencies at a central point at the federal level if we want to take more decisive action against money laundering, organized crime, and criminal financial networks.”

The law enforcement authorities in Germany must execute investigations to counter such criminal activities and collaborate with the state government to work closely.

International raids on ‘Ndrangheta put Germany in hot waters, is this the country’s haven for money laundering?

Germany is susceptible to financial crimes like money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion due to its massive economy, advanced financial institutions, and strong global ties, probably making it attractive for organized crime.  In 2023, coordinated raids against ‘Ndranghet led to the apprehension of 108 people in Itlay and more than 30 individuals in Germany. The raid was followed by a three-year investigation operation called Operation Eureka into drug and arms trafficking.

Also read: Hundreds of Ghost Companies Assisting Tax Fraud Worth €2 Billion Send Shockwaves in Italy