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Corruption Cases Fail Across Region
Written by OCCRP   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009

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In case after case, country after country, prosecutions of crimes involving Organized Crime and public corruption fail, for a host of reasons.

Across Eastern Europe, justice systems fail to prosecute cases of organized crime and corruption, resulting in a debased political climate, graft, and, in some cases,  sanctions from the international community. The reasons behind the failure vary by country, but all involve a consistent breakdown in law enforcement, from police on the street to government ministers. In some cases the systems themselves are broken, while in others they are cynically exploited to selectively target the political or personal enemies of those in power. The results are the same- organized crime flourishes unchecked and corrupt politicians plunder state resources, together creating an atmosphere of lawlessness that stifles reform.

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Romania: Prosecutors Overwhelmed
Written by OCCRP   
Thursday, 26 February 2009

 

ImageIn Romania, prosecutions of criminal organizations and of corruption sometimes end in frustration for lower level law enforcement and findings they don’t understand or agree with. Criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, launder money and smuggle cigarettes thrive in Romania amid corruption, lax judicial attitudes toward drug dealing, an exaggerated regard for suspects’ rights and gaps in the law.

"If you are hungry and you steal a loaf of bread you get twelve years in prison. Steal millions of Euros and you won’t do a day. This is the problem with the Romanian justice system,” said a Romanian police officer who specializes in fighting organized crime.
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Hungary: Corruption Continues
Written by OCCRP   
Monday, 15 December 2008

Geza FinszterThe influences of organized crime and corruption have not diminished in Hungary in the years since the turf battles typical of the 1990s and early 2000s. Instead, groups and individuals involved have consolidated their strength, using connections to high levels of Hungarian society to such an extent that many experts question the ability of the justice system to solve it.

If there are 300 murders, you call the police,” said Geza Finszter, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Criminology in Budapest. „If there are 30,000 murders, you look for another solution. Real justice is only possible in a fundamentally honest society. Only then can you make crime unprofitable.”

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Ukraine: OC Prosecutions Rarely Work
Written by OCCRP   
Thursday, 20 November 2008

ImageUkraine prosecutors have long fought an uphill battle to jail those accused of corruption and organized crime. Now they are confident in their case against a former transportation minister.

One of the 2005 Orange Revolution’s major promises and the main election campaign slogan of President Viktor Yushchenko was “All criminals will be in jail.”  The Ukrainian writer and political analyst Yuriy Vynnychyk said back in 2006 that Yushchenko had failed to fulfill that promise: “The promise to put the criminals in jail was broken – instead they go to the parliament.”

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Witness protection in small countries
Written by OCCRP   
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

ImageIsrael’s dozen major crime families have become more brazen in recent years as they fight over the usual industries – drugs, gambling, prostitution – and the less-usual bottle recycling business.  

Bombings and bomb attempts are no longer rare among the families. The police have also been implicated – the national police chief resigned 18 months ago after a government commission said he ignored ties between senior officers and underworld figures. Most recently, in July, a botched mob hit on a beach boardwalk killed a 31-year-old mother in front of her husband and two children.

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Russia: Abuse of Criminal Prosecution
Written by OCCRP   
Monday, 01 September 2008

Image“For my friends, anything; for my enemies, the law.” - former Peruvian President Oscar R. Benavides

Why do Russian public prosecutors target some public officials and businessmen and not others who may be equally guilty of crimes?

Russian state officials and businessmen can be dragged into court not only because of their recent actions but also because of events that took place many years ago. The state can suddenly remember a businessman’s economic crime 10 years after its commission, or it can just as suddenly review a criminal investigation that officially ended several years ago.

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Bulgaria Loses EU Money Because of OC
Written by OCCRP   
Monday, 01 September 2008

ImageIn an unprecedented move, the EU has withheld funds from new member Bulgaria because the ineffective measures it’s taken against organized crime. Killings, frauds and corruption all seem to go unprosecuted and unpunished.

The European Union’s (EU) dramatic action in suspending aid to Bulgaria came after ample warnings that mere commitment to judicial reform was not enough.

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RICO Case in Russian Court
Written by OCCRP   
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

ImageIn January 2007, the Ukrainian Web-based Obozrevatel newspaper shocked the nation with its bold attempt to investigate the early years of the country’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, whose wealth is estimated by Korrespondent magazine in Ukraine at $31.1 billion. Forbes Magazine estimated that his 2008 net worth was $7.3 billion.

The results of their investigation, published in a five-part series of articles, reminded readers of an adventure story set in the harsh conditions of a suburb called Oktyabrsky in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

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