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Europol sets up centre with focus on financial, business crimes

A new centre focused on financial and business crime should help Europol investigate such law-breaking more effectively, the group's director, Catherine De Bolle, said on Friday.

A new centre focused on financial and business crime should help Europol investigate such law-breaking more effectively, the group’s director, Catherine De Bolle, said on Friday.

The new centre for the European Union’s law enforcement agency should help criminal investigations be better focused, leading to more success, she added.

Europol estimates that criminal groups earn about 110 billion euros (124.6 billion dollars) a year. But De Bolle estimated that only 1.2 per cent of that is ever captured.

“We have to follow the money to seize the criminals,” she said.

Nor are old techniques up to the job, she said.

“House-searching is not enough. Arrests [are] not enough. Confiscating a ton of cocaine is not enough.”

EU Justice Commissioner Ylva Johansson said the goal is to build up deeper cooperation between banks and Europol, especially since so much of this kind of crime crosses borders.

The new centre will employ 65 experts to help coordinate such investigations. Key focuses will include fraud, corruption, money laundering and fake goods, all crimes that can yield high profits for low risk.

There are also concerns such crime could pick up, as criminals see opportunities thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic slump.

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