41 episodes

Winner of the 'Best Deep Dive Podcast' at the 2024 Publishers Podcast Awards, shortlisted three times for 'Best Investigative Podcast' and once for 'Best Video Podcast'.

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime brings you stories and investigations from the global criminal underworld.

The topics covered by Deep Dive are far ranging, one episode could be looking at a hybrid paramilitary organized criminal cartel; the next could be the dismantling of an encrypted communications network; or the use of complex corporate structures to hide illicit activity; or the role organized crime has in the recycling industry.

This podcast series demonstrates the wide ranging investigations and research carried out by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Deep Dive: Exploring Organized Crime Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime

    • True Crime

Winner of the 'Best Deep Dive Podcast' at the 2024 Publishers Podcast Awards, shortlisted three times for 'Best Investigative Podcast' and once for 'Best Video Podcast'.

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime brings you stories and investigations from the global criminal underworld.

The topics covered by Deep Dive are far ranging, one episode could be looking at a hybrid paramilitary organized criminal cartel; the next could be the dismantling of an encrypted communications network; or the use of complex corporate structures to hide illicit activity; or the role organized crime has in the recycling industry.

This podcast series demonstrates the wide ranging investigations and research carried out by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

    The Long Tail: Cross-Channel Migrant Smuggling (France to the UK)

    The Long Tail: Cross-Channel Migrant Smuggling (France to the UK)

    On the 1st May 2024, 711 migrants successfully crossed the Channel between France and the UK in small boats. This year is so far on track to see the highest number of crossings on record.
    This highly industrialised illicit industry estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of Euros, has seen the coast of northern France demarcated between competing gangs from a specific region of the Middle East, and who have a long history of smuggling.
    They control the entire length of the route, from beginning to end - targeting prospective migrants through social media, offering package deals, and advice on how to speak to authorities on arrival. Some migrants even use their own knowledge of the trip to become smugglers themselves.
    In this episode we take a look at the criminal groups behind the small boat crossings; how organised the logistics are; how much money they make and where it goes; and finally what this could mean for the future of other illicit economies in Western Europe.
    Speaker(s):
    Tuesday Reitano, Deputy Director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, author of the book Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Saviour. Author of the report Small Boats, Big Business: The Industrialization of Cross-Channel Migrant Smuggling.
    Julien Goudichaud, documentary filmmaker who has been reporting on people smugglers who operate in Calais.
    Afshin Ismaeli, a journalist and war photographer from Norway.
    Links:
    (GI Paper) Small Boats, Big Business: The Industrialization of Cross-Channel Migrant Smuggling - available in English & French
    (Book) Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Saviour
    (GI Paper) The Human Conveyor Belt: Trends in human trafficking and smuggling in post-revolution Libya
    (GI Analysis) An increasing number of Albanians are crossing the English Channel from France using small boats
    (GI Analysis) Western Balkan criminal groups are important players in the Netherlands
    Additional...

    • 54 min
    LockBit: Is this the end?

    LockBit: Is this the end?

    LockBit, the world's largest ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) provider suffered a very public takedown by an international law enforcement task force, Operation Cronos.
    The ransomware behemoth quickly relaunched just days later. But in a world where trust is key, might the reputational damage be too great?
    This is the story of the rise of LockBit, its relationship with other infamous cybercriminal groups, its uneasy relationship with some affiliates, its curious leader LockBitsupp, the public takedown and the relaunch, and what this means for the future of ransomware-as-a-service.
    Speaker(s):
    Koryak Uzan, Co-founder & Managing Director of PRODAFT
    Links:
    GITOC - The Rise and Fall of the Conti ransomware group
    PRODAFT - LockBit: Behind the Lines of the Notorious RaaS
    PRODAFT - The Demise of LOCKBIT: Disrupting the Most Prominent Ransomware Gang by Utilizing Upstream Threat...

    • 34 min
    Russia, War & Organized Crime

    Russia, War & Organized Crime

    Russian organized crime has a mythology attached to it - the brutal tattooed men of the Vory v Zakone. But those days are long in the past, rapid globalisation saw a new type of organized criminal take the reins in the Russian underworld, spreading their influence as criminal facilitators across the world.
    But the war in Ukraine has changed that. It's changed the relationship between organized crime and the Russian state, the status quo within the established criminal order, the potential vacuum left by those criminals who fight and die in the conflict, the establishment of Russian criminal groups outside of the country, the flows of illicit goods themselves have evolved, and then Ukraine, once so critical to those illicit flows, is currently lost.
    Such is the uncertainty surrounding organized crime that there have been rumblings about a possible return to a dark period in Russian history, known as the 'Wild 90s' - a period of anarchy that is etched into the Russian psyche.
    Speaker(s):
    Mark Galeotti, the Executive Director of Mayak Intelligence, honorary professor at University College London, member of the GI Network. Author of ‘The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia' and the GI-TOC paper: Time of Troubles: The Russian underworld since the Ukraine invasion
    Links:
    (GI Paper) Rebellion as racket: Crime and the Donbas conflict 2014-2022
    (GI Paper) Evolving drug trends in wartime Ukraine
    (GI Analysis) The devil’s not-so-new psychoactive substance: Alpha-PVP, a highly addictive synthetic drug, is experiencing growing demand in Ukraine.
    (GI Paper) Crossroads: Kazakhstan's changing illicit drug economy
    (GI Paper) Port in a storm: Organized crime in Odesa since the Russian invasion
    (Podcast) “Death Can Wait”: Drugs on the Frontline in Ukraine
    Research Links:
    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2023/10/23/russian-artist-fined-for-extremist-toy-doll-with-prison-tattoos-a82852
    https://tass.ru/obschestvo/9218777
    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/08/17/russia-outlaws-childrens-criminal-underground-movement-a71178
    a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/sep/18/decoding-russian-criminal-tattoos-in-pictures" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 46 min
    Monitoring: What is going on in Ecuador?

    Monitoring: What is going on in Ecuador?

    At the start of the year masked gunman burst into a television studio in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The cameras were live and the entire event was broadcast. The video shows gang members shouting at staff, pushing them to the ground, threatening them with guns and explosives. These pictures subsequently travelled around the world.
    But this event was just one in a series to hit Ecuador in a short space of time. Car bombs, kidnappings, murder, prison riots, prominent prisoner escapes, and another national state of emergency.
    Criminal violence has washed over the country as competing gangs like Los Choneros and Los Lobos battle in prisons and on the streets over control of the lucrative cocaine trafficking business. Foreign organized criminal actors like the Mexican Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation Cartels, the Albanian Mafia, FARC dissident groups from Colombia, and others, are all active in Ecuador, a country described as a "cocaine superhighway".
    In the space of just five or so years, Ecuador has gone from one of the safest countries in Latin America to a country with one of the highest murder rates. In this episode we are going to talk about how this happened.
    Speaker(s):
    Felipe Botero Escobar, the Head of Andean Programmes at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime
    GI-TOC:
    (Paper) Organized crime declares war: The road to chaos in Ecuador
    (Blog) Fernando Villavicencio - Assassination Witness Project
    The Global Organized Crime Index - Ecuador Country Profile
    (Paper) Transnational Tentacles: Global Hotspots of Balkan Organized Crime
    (Podcast episode) The Index - Ecuador
    (Paper) The cocaine pipeline to Europe
    Additional...

    • 28 min
    Monitoring: Ovidio Guzmán and the Kingpin Strategy

    Monitoring: Ovidio Guzmán and the Kingpin Strategy

    'The King is dead, long live the King!'
    In September 2023, Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, stood in a courtroom as a series of charges were laid out, including his alleged role as a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
    There is a long list of cartel and organized crime leaders over the past few decades who have been targeted through what become known as the 'Kingpin Strategy'. The strategy aims to weaken, destabilise, and destroy criminal groups through a variety of methods, but is not without critics.
    In this episode of Deep Dive: Monitoring, we look at the arrest of Ovidio, the history and impact of the Kingpin Strategy, how organized crime responds to a prominent criminal leader being removed, the so-called "Narco-Culture" that surrounds criminal actors, and the impact it has on the communities bearing the greatest impact of these criminal groups.
    Speaker:
    Siria Gastelum Felix, the Director of Resilience, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime - Link
    GITOC:
    OC Index - Mexico
    OC Index - Colombia
    Clan del Golfo: The fall of 'Otoniel' - How Colombia's biggest drug lord was taken down.
    Mexico’s war with itself? ¿La guerra de México consigo mismo?
    Additional Reading:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmlj7cFHlsA
    https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/criminal-prosecution-drug-traffickers-under-continuing-criminal
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-66853111
    https://insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/oficina-de-envigado-profile/
    https://insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news/auc-profile/
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-66784678
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/20/colombias-coca-crops-grew-to-historic-levels-last-year-un
    https://museum.dea.gov/video-archive/kingpin-strategy-did-it-work
    https://justiceinmexico.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/OCVM-21.pdf
    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/VC.IHR.PSRC.P5?locations=CO&most_recent_value_desc=true
    a...

    • 20 min
    Illicit Financial Flows in the Western Balkans

    Illicit Financial Flows in the Western Balkans

    “If you can do it without consequences, then you should do it”.
    What are illicit Financial Flows, or IFFs? And why do they matter?
    Every illicit market, from drug trafficking, people smuggling, the illegal wildlife trade, arms trafficking etc. all are connected to IFFs. IFFs are about the movement of money across borders that is illegal in some way.
    The money could be from a criminal act, like corruption or its money associated with the illicit markets above. Perhaps, it could be legitimately earned money that is transferred in a way that evades taxation, like being paid in cash and not declaring it or money is funnelled into complex corporate schemes and secrecy jurisdictions. Or perhaps its ultimate use is something like terrorist financing or funding organised criminal activity.
    Dirty money is a global problem, according to the IMF, it makes up between 2-5% (up to $5.25 trillion dollars) of global GDP.
    Given the scale of the problem, in this episode we will focus in on the Western Balkans in South-Eastern Europe through three IFFs - money laundering investigations in Kosovo, corruption and the role of the private sector in Albania, and tax evasion in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
    Speaker(s):
    Dardan Kocani, Field Coordinator for Kosovo for the South Eastern Europe Observatory at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime
    Sokol Toska, Legal Auditor in Albania and expert in money laundering and illicit financial flows.
    Anesa Agovich, Field Coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
    Links:
    Illicit financial flows in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia: Key drivers and current trends
    Illicit Financial Flows in Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia: Key drivers and current trends
    Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
    Global Organized Crime Index
    Research Links:
     https://www.europol.europa.eu/cms/sites/default/files/documents/europol-review-2016.pdf
    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-the-105-trillion-world-economy-in-one-chart/
    https://www.ibe.org.uk/resource/tax-avoidance-as-an-ethical-issue-for-business.html
    https://www.transparency.org/en/corruptionary/tax-evasion
    https://albaniandailynews.com/news/wanted-for-incinerators-affair-stela-gugallja-detained-in-austria...

    • 41 min

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