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Meet the bad guys: Camorra, Yakuza and Brothers’ Circle

Beyond the pretty dry OFAC releases, it’s kind of interesting to hear the story behind the story. Yesterday, Treasury issued a press release about the transnational crime organizations (TCOs) that were further sanctioned yesterday: the Camorra, Yakuza and Brothers’ Circle.

Here’s what Treasury had to say about the Camorra:

The Camorra operates internationally and is involved in serious criminal activity, such as money laundering, extortion, alien smuggling, robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, political corruption, and counterfeiting. In 2012 Italian law enforcement conducted multiple operations to seize Camorra assets, including 800 million euro seized from the Casalesi clan in July. To date, Treasury has identified five individuals affiliated with the Camorra under E.O. 13581, including their most prominent leaders Michele Zagaria and Antonio Iovine.

In August 2012 the Treasury Department designated Michele Zagaria, a leader of the Camorra Casalesi clan, who is serving a life sentence for conspiracy, murder, extortion, and robbery. The Camorra members designated today are all members of the immediate family of Michele Zagaria: his brothers Pasquale Zagaria, Carmine Zagaria, Antonio Zagaria, and his father Nicola Zagaria. Each of these four individuals is designated for acting for or on behalf of, or providing support to, Michele Zagaria and/or the Camorra. All the brothers have led the Caselasi clan at one point while other siblings were serving jail sentences. All are involved in the family’s criminal enterprises. This network has been involved in extortion, kidnapping, money laundering, and bribery.

and the Yakuza:

The Yakuza, reputedly the world’s largest criminal organization with over 70,000 members, is involved in serious criminal activities, including weapons trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, drug trafficking, fraud, and money laundering. The Treasury Department designated the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Sumiyoshi-kai, in February and September 2012, respectively. The Inagawa-kai, designated today, is the third-largest of the Yakuza organizations, and the Department of the Treasury is targeting it today for acting for or on behalf of the Yakuza. The top three clans account for approximately 72.4 percent of the Yakuza membership. To date, Treasury has identified four individuals and two entities affiliated with the Yakuza under E.O. 13581, including their most prominent leaders Kenichi Shinoda and Shigeo Nishiguchi.

Today’s action also imposes sanctions on Jiro Kiyota, the top Inagawa-kai leader, as well as the Inagawa-kai’s second-in-command, Kazuo Uchibori, for acting for or on behalf of the Inagawa-kai. As leaders of Inagawa-kai, Kiyota and Uchibori play key roles in directing the syndicate’s policies and settling disputes with other Yakuza syndicates. Under the leadership of Kiyota and Uchibori, the Inagawa-kai has become increasingly aligned with the Yamaguchi-gumi.

and the Brothers’ Circle:

The Brothers’ Circle is a multi-ethnic criminal group composed of leaders and senior members of several Eurasian criminal groups largely based in countries of the former Soviet Union but extending to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. To date, Treasury has identified 15 individuals affiliated with the Brothers’ Circle and their associates under E.O. 13581, including their most prominent members Gafur Rakhimov and Zakhariy Kalashov. The Brothers’ Circle serves as a coordinating body for several national level criminal networks, mediating disputes between the individual criminal networks and directing global criminal activity.

On December 20, 2012, the Treasury Department designated Zakhariy Kalashov, a key member of the Brothers’ Circle and a prominent Eurasian organized crime figure with extensive connections to criminal groups in Russia and countries throughout Eurasia. His criminal activities include money laundering, extortion, criminal protection, and drug trafficking. He is currently incarcerated, serving a nine year sentence for money laundering in Spain. Marina Kalashova, who has been designated today, is a key part of Zakhariy Kalashov’s network. Kalashov communicates with Kalashova to pass messages on his behalf to his organization.


Treasury Press Release

Categories: OFAC Updates Organized Crime Sanctions


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