The RICO law is still one of the most effective tools for combating organized crime. How does this law work and what application can it find in Russia?

How RICO works
How this law stands out among other provisions of the American Code of Criminal Procedure.-Кирилл Ксенофонтов

The essence is hidden in the title: “The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act” – “The law on corrupt and under the influence of racketeering organizations.” Under “racketeering” the law understands the lion’s share of criminal acts that are not related to pure racketeering (that is, collecting tribute), but employees are aiming to enrich or raise the status.

What is the innovation and importance of the law?

In short, this is the punishment of criminals for the very fact of membership in a criminal community. For a full list of illegal actions (murder, arson, bribery, extortion, robbery, import of illegal immigrants, pedophilia – in general, almost everything that is a crime, more detailed guidance can be seen here), it is possible to judge not only the individual, but a whole group of people [ or a legal entity] that did not even directly participate in it. The main thing is a close relationship with the accused membership in a certain community. This is if expressed in legal language. In fact, this is a law aimed at suppressing criminal communities and related groups.

That is, the whole chain is being unwound – not only directly committing the crime, but those who gave the order, had some benefit from it (or did not know it) or aided. Moreover, even relatives and close members of the criminal group are being worked out. Let’s look at this in more detail – here is the very essence of the law.

In the theoretical part of the law, it looks like this. A member of a criminal group commits a criminal act of any kind. The action does not necessarily lead to its enrichment, it can raise its status in a criminal group, open up new opportunities and so on. The wording is very vague, so to RICO you can draw a huge layer of criminal actions, up to “knocked a passerby while riding the arrow to the boys.”

So, the crime is committed, the criminal is known. Further, the algorithm is developed as follows: investigators seek and find evidence of both its actions and its membership in the criminal group; find even more information, and at the moment when the police covers the entire gang and charges, the investigators sew the detained criminals to the cause of relatives and friends. Why? Because relatives and relatives could and, most likely, were the beneficiaries of the actions of the criminal. Proving this is fairly easy (from the prosecution’s point of view because of the very fact of having a close connection), but to prove the opposite is monstrously difficult.

An abstract example. Suppose that you are a student, cohabiting with a dashing and dangerous member of a gang of car thieves. In his case, you do not really understand and do not know what he is doing – but it will be difficult to prove this in court. But if he gave you, for example, a smartphone, then you certainly attracted to the case – you are the beneficiary. Here, however, it will be necessary to prove that the smartphone was purchased for money received from illegal activities. But it will be even harder to prove otherwise. Yes there are gifts, you can sew to the business even paying for utilities or buying food (you live and dine together, it’s easy to install). Well, here we are a little thicken the colors. In fact, the police will work with much more obvious and simple tracks leading from the criminal to you, but RICO very, very extends the capabilities of detectives.

The law works equally well with both small gangs and large groups. These four letters magically transform a short period of 3-5 years for extortion committed alone, in a quarter of a century behind bars – “as part of a criminal group.” it makes RICO an ideal weapon in the fight with both traditional crime syndicates and ethnic OPG.

After all, it is known that the criminals themselves in Ethnicity are only the top of the pyramid. Her body and foundation are numerous relatives, friends, brothers, aunts, matchmakers and so on. They can not take direct part in criminal schemes, but somehow they get in touch with criminals, often “feed” at the expense of their dark deeds and protect them in a legal and illegal field (remember Mirzaev’s case). This makes ethnic organized crime groups particularly dangerous. In the same RF, the state interacts with diasporas as separate subjects of law when it comes to a resonant criminal case involving minorities.Mirzaev in the hospital with a “support group”

RICO transfers all countless “interested passive observers” to the category of accomplices and members of a large criminal community. After all, the violation of the law of RICO is also the investment of illegally obtained funds in a completely legal business.

For example, money earned from the sale of drugs is invested in the opening of a completely legal kebab. And according to the results of the court case, this enterprise is confiscated, even if it belongs not to a direct member of the organized crime group, but is recorded on the cousin’s nephew of his wife’s brother. That is, according to the results of the investigation, society and the state return what they were stolen directly and indirectly – if not with interest, then in the form of a fully liquid asset.

Possible application of the RICO law in Russia

The law is so good that it can at least now be translated into Russian and with minor changes to take in Russia. But what problems will help solve the Russian analogue RICO? Let’s start with the topic stated at the very beginning – ethnic OPG. It will be all the more fair that the most high-profile cases of RICO in America were held just under the banner of the struggle against the Italian-American OPG.

Take, for example, the notorious “GTA gang”, consisting of natives of Central Asian countries. How many of their relatives and relatives knew about their activities? Where and how did they spend their money? Which of their relatives was at least an indirect beneficiary of their activities? The same questions arise about the Chechen gang of extortionists in Moscow and Mariinsk.

In the case of the well-known last year’s events at the Khovansky cemetery in Moscow (where, we recall, hundreds of fighters took part and losses incurred by law enforcement agencies), all American legal concepts deal with at least one OPG, a large-scale conspiracy to racket and a huge number of participants and beneficiaries. But the list of articles of the Criminal Code, on which the Russian law enforcement agencies have brought cases, is just an ideal example of dull inefficiency: “the murder of two or more persons committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy,” “illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying weapons, ammunition “and” hooliganism committed by a group of persons “. It is clear that corruption always plays a role when things are deliberately lowered on the brakes. But in this situation, the main problem is that we simply do not have a law that would allow the situation to be promoted as it should and involve not only immediate criminals, but also indirect perpetrators of the massacre. Law enforcers and society simply can not rely on anything. Well, “murder”, well, “hooliganism” – and in fact, the system problem is not solved, and the funeral business in Moscow remains a highly criminalized case.

bb0d9d98a1b018fc820c96927b955a0c.jpgArrested participants in the Battle of Khovansky Cemetery

And do not need to nod at the fact that law enforcement institutions have disintegrated and do not work. Yes, it is, but the law is useful even in this case. The tool that is not used still remains a worker. After a while, when the situation improves, it will be much easier to call on the authorities to comply with existing laws, rather than force them to accept new ones.

RICO is useful in the fight against corruption. Absolutely of corruption, of course, do not get rid of – slowly will take everything and always. But it was in Russia that corruption turned into a system, as the researcher of Alyona Ledenev correctly noted. The theft of budget money occurs collectively – and RICO allows you to deal with all this much more effectively, because it “hits the square”, grazing all the participants. By the way, the American investigation into FIFA is also the use of the RICO law. Pointed corruption cases are far from as effective as it may seem – at the time of the charges, the stolen money has already been turned into real estate or other assets, rewritten to other people. So, it is quite impossible to establish the connection between crime and property as if it does not work. RICO also demands to prove that the property was not bought for stolen funds.

However, there are specific Russian additions, which are definitely worth taking. In our RICO it is necessary to separately register the responsibility for collusion with the goal of committing unlawful acts on religious grounds – as you understand, this is necessary in order to prevent extremism among those communities where this is really needed. There is no doubt that the attackers in Kaspiisk and Surgut had supporters and a much larger number of sympathizers – but how to ensure an effective investigation of this case outside the RICO structure? After all, in the American law, the instigators are investigated as well as those who committed the crime – and how many friends help Muslim terrorists if not by deed, in word?

Illustrative examples:

RICO in cinema
Some examples of the action of RICO on a wide screen. There can be spoilers, we warned you.

“The Dark Knight” by Christopher Nolan. According to the plot of the film, Prosecutor Harvey Dent and his associates are trying to imprison the leaders of the largest criminal gangs of Gotham. Ironically, they all belong to the category of ethnic criminal groups – there are Italian mafia, negroes, Chinese triads and, you will not believe, even Chechens. The opportunity to grab their hands is provided when information appears – they have withdrawn their money from crime through joint efforts and then invested. By forcibly extraditing their Chinese accountant from Hong Kong [with the help of Batman], Gotham’s authorities are given the opportunity to build the RICO affair of criminal conspiracy and gradually involve more and more people in it. This is not difficult because of the peculiarities of the configuration of RICO: if one of the participants in a collusion is involved in a crime, then the rest can be blamed. Lawyers note that the film is very freely interpreted by RICO, but they also note that in the theory of barriers this is not.

Prosecutor and his associates are building the case of RICO after Batman’s help

The series “In All Grave”. The episode is closer to the finale of the last season, after the truth that Walter White is a drug baron has been revealed. He escapes from the investigation, the state confiscates from his wife a house and a car wash as assets received with funds earned by illegal means. In general, we do not know much about how the criminal case against glavgeroy moved – but the moment with the confiscation of the common family property, bought for illegal incomes, is shown correctly. So this is in the case of RICO and works.




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