New police team in the Netherlands to counter Italian Mafia after publication of the Cerca Trova report

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The Hague (the Netherlands). At the end of March, 2017, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, national police and tax authorities released the report “Cerca Trova” (or “seek and you shall find”), to analyse the criminal activities of the Italian Mafia in the Netherlands. They concluded that the Mafia in the Netherlands was mainly involved in fraud. For instance, they pay less money than promised to Dutch the flower deliverers that they do business with in order to transport drugs in the flower boxes. Still, there are a lot of unanswered questions about the criminal activities. For example, it is not sure how much extortion, corruption and bribing takes place.

The report found that some fugitive mafia members – on the run for Italian authorities – go to the Netherlands to hide, as it is a country with good infrastructure and an international orientation, particularly due to the Rotterdam harbor and the airport in Amsterdam. The country is thus relatively easily accessible for Italians. The Mafiosi feel safe in the Netherlands, some do not even bother to create a fake identity. It is not clear how many Mafiosi operate or live in the Netherlands, but from 1992 to 2014, 55 Mafiosi were arrested or found dead in the Netherlands, and another 38 were spotted in the Netherlands at some time or another, but they have yet not been found. Spain still is a more important hiding place for fugitive Mafiosi than the Netherlands though, and Germany seems to come third, right after the Netherlands.

As a response to the results of the “Cerca Trova” report, and years of critique from Italian authorities that the Netherlands did not do enough to detect Mafia members in their own country, the Dutch government decided to set up a special anti-mafia police team. The team initiated two detection investigations, in collaboration with Italian detection investigation institutions. The head of the Dutch national police, Wilbert Paulissen, says “We agreed with Italy to actively investigate each tip on fugitive Mafiosi”. Paulissen also pleads to look for ways to fine-tune the Dutch legislative system to combat organised crime, also saying that the Netherlands can learn from the effective measures they take in Italy.

For the entire Cerca Trova report click here [NL]
For more information on the Cerca Trova report please click here [NL] or here [NL]
For more information about narcotrafficking via the flowermarket please click here [EN]