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Sabato, 18 Maggio 2024
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France like Sicily in the 1980s: "Informants and asset confiscation to target drug bosses"

A parliamentary investigative commission sounds the alarm: "The country is flooded with drugs and homicides, we must act now." The model is the Italian anti-mafia legislation

Repentance and preventive confiscation. Then the establishment of a national prosecutor's office and the crime of criminal association. These are some of the measures proposed by a report from the French Senate to promote the fight against what has become a national emergency: drug trafficking. Measures that closely resemble those of the 1980s in Italy and the battle against the Mafia. The model, indeed, is precisely that of the Italian anti-Mafia, as stated in the summary of the report prepared by the investigative commission "on the impact of drug trafficking in France and the measures to be taken to remedy it." An impact "exploded in the last decade," explains the document.

France "submerged"

The report starts with an inexorable indictment of Paris's counter-crime policies linked to drugs, "a phenomenon often ignored for decades by governments of all kinds which, instead of attacking its roots, have preferred to fight its dregs," writes the French newspaper Le Monde. The result is that today France "lacks the means, clarity, and coherence," the Senate report reads, and has ended up being "submerged" by drugs. In 2022, seized cocaine exceeded 27 tons, five times that intercepted by law enforcement ten years earlier. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of a market whose turnover would have reached at least 3.5 billion euros per year.

"Despite the tireless efforts of law enforcement and the courts - the report continues - drugs, even the 'heavier' ones, are now available everywhere and anywhere, whether they are sold in one of the 3,000 sales points scattered throughout our country, or ordered and delivered to homes by couriers." At the same time, "drug trafficking networks are becoming increasingly violent": in Marseille alone, in the first nine months of 2023, 44 people were killed in a settling of scores among drug clans. Nationally, it is estimated that at least 80% of homicides and shootings are linked to the world of narcotics. And the expansion of criminal networks has not stopped at just large cities, flooding medium-sized cities and rural communities.

The Italian model

The investigative commission's report speaks of a "turning point," in a negative sense: the cancer of drug trafficking is no longer just a problem confined to criminal activity but is metastasising into the state and the world of business, into white-collar crime. Just like Cosa Nostra in Italy. The risk of corruption among public and private officials is "very high," warn the senators. That's why "we must act now to contain the contagion." How?

As mentioned, the model is precisely the Italian anti-mafia legislation, starting with the proposal to establish the crime of criminal association, which mirrors the crime of mafia association introduced in 1982 after the murder of Sicilian PCI Secretary Pio La Torre, who promoted it along with Virginio Rognoni. For at least fifteen years, there has been debate in Europe about the utility of extending this type of crime throughout the EU, but the idea, advocated by Italian associations, experts, and politicians, has never been considered in Brussels due to the distrust of several governments. Paris could be the first EU country after Italy to adopt this provision.

Echoes of Italian anti-mafia legislation are also found in other proposals of the French investigative commission: facilitating the use of “repentants”, introducing asset confiscation without a criminal conviction, and creating a national anti-drug prosecutor's office similar to Italy's anti-mafia one.

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France like Sicily in the 1980s: "Informants and asset confiscation to target drug bosses"

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