When Criminals Invest in Businesses: Are We Looking in the Right Direction? An Exploratory Analysis of Companies Controlled by Mafias

  • Michele RiccardiEmail author


The investment of criminals in companies has been receiving a lot of attention from policy makers and regulators worldwide. However this topic has often been neglected by researchers and relegated as a subspecies of money laundering: businesses are in most cases seen only as layers or shell companies used for concealing illicit proceeds. Is this only part of the story? This paper, after a critical review of the literature on criminals investments’ in businesses, performs an analysis of the geographical and sectorial distribution of about 2,000 companies confiscated from Mafia groups in Italy, highlighting how criminals’ investments may be explained not only by money laundering purposes, but also by other drivers such as profit maximization, control of the territory, social consensus and cultural/personal reasons.


Money laundering Investments Mafia Organized Crime 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TranscrimeUniversità Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di MilanoMilanItaly

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