United Nations Report
Counterfeiting and Organized Crime

Counterfeiting: a global spread, a global threat

Turin, 14 December 2007. The Report on the links between counterfeiting and organized crime will be presented by: Prof. Andrea Comba, President of Fondazione CRT; Mr. Sandro Calvani, Director of UNICRI; Cons. Giovanni Kessler, Alto Commissario per la Lotta alla Contraffazione; Cons. Franco Zuccarelli, Prosecutor of the Italian National Anti-Mafia Bureau; Col. t. St. Ignazio Gibilaro, Head of Servizio Centrale Investigazione Criminalità Organizzata della Guardia di Finanza (SCICO); Mr. Giuseppe Peleggi, Head of the Italian Customs Agency (Agenzia delle Dogane); Mr. Philippe Lacoste, Vice-President of the Union des Fabricants; Mr. John Anderson, Chairman of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG).


The presentation will also be attended by representatives from several national and international public institutions and private organizations involved in the fight against counterfeiting.

The Report, funded by Fondazione CRT, assesses the magnitude of this growing phenomenon, highlighting its links with organized crime and the risks for consumers' health and safety. Sophistication of technology allows for relatively easy replication of every kind of product on the market and criminal organizations, attracted by the extreme profitability and low risk associated with these crimes, control the production and trade of counterfeit goods. Counterfeiting represents a huge financial source for criminals, generating profits which can be promptly reinvested into other illicit activities and facilitating a continuous mechanism for money laundering.

Despite increasing awareness of the scale of the problem, a general lack of adequate legal deterrents has been reported which results in a reduction of the level of risk for perpetrators. This is potentially the most attractive element for criminal organizations. Their direct involvement in counterfeiting activities along with existing synergies between networks of criminal groups operating in different countries have greatly improved the production and distribution phases of counterfeit products.

Counterfeiting poses serious risks for civil society. The unauthorized replication of certain kinds of products such as medicines, toys, food, beverages, as well as spare parts for automobiles and aircrafts threatens public health and safety. National and international strategies against this phenomenon should be based on the awareness that counterfeiting is not a "victimless crime". Starting from this consideration and with the aim of improving the global response to such a complex phenomenon UNICRI and its partners have elaborated a series of proposals which are contained in the Report.

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