Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ROME (AP) — In the very moments Italy's new coalition government was being sworn in, ending months of political paralysis in a country hoping to revive a bleak economy, a middle-aged unemployed bricklayer opened fire Sunday in the square outside the premier's office, seriously wounding two policemen, authorities said.
The alleged gunman from Calabria, a southern region plagued by joblessness and organized crime, told investigators he wanted to shoot politicians. But finding none in the square, he instead shot at Carabinieri paramilitary police.
A bullet pierced one of the policemen in the neck, passing through his spinal column, doctors said, adding it wasn't yet known if the 50-year-old officer would have any paralysis. The other one was shot in the leg and suffered a fracture.
The newly sworn in interior minister, Angelino Alfano, said a preliminary investigation indicated the shooting, which also slightly injured a pregnant bystander, amounted to a "tragic criminal gesture of a 49-year-old unemployed" man.
But the shooting was also a violent expression of social tensions in Italy, where unemployment is soaring, an increasing number of businesses are shutting their doors permanently and new political corruption scandals make headlines nearly every day.
Politicians described the attack as a disturbing call to fix Italy's economy.
"From what we understand, it's mainly personal problems, work, personal debts" that fueled the gunman's attack, said Guglielmo Epifani, a top official in Premier Enrico Letta's center-left Democratic Party.
Epifani said in a state TV interview that while the financial crisis has caused some to commit suicide, "this is the first time someone shoots to kill" someone else "in a place filled with innocent people."
"The symbolism is there," he said. The political world "must highlight its responsibility during the crisis before the country," he said.
In brief comments to reporters after paying a hospital visit to the more seriously wounded policeman, Letta said, "it is a moment in which each must do one's own duty."
The 46-year-old Letta will speak to Parliament on Monday, laying out his strategy to reduce joblessness while still sticking to the austerity measures needed to keep the eurozone's No. 3 economy from descending into a sovereign debt crisis. He will then face confidence votes needed to confirm his government.
Prosecutors identified the gunman as Luigi Preiti. Jobless, with a broken marriage and reportedly burdened by gambling debts he couldn't pay, Preiti had recently returned from Italy's affluent north, where he could no longer find work. He moved into his parents' home in Rosarno, a bleak Calabrian farm town where unemployment was already endemic before the last years of stagnation and recession sent youth unemployment soaring to nearly 40 percent nationwide.
His intended target was politicians, but with none in the square, he shot at the Carabinieri paramilitary police, Rome Prosecutor Pierfilippo Laviani told reporters, citing what he said Preiti told him when he questioned him.
Preiti, who was taken to the hospital for bruises, confessed to the shooting and didn't appear mentally unbalanced, Laviani said.
"He is a man full of problems, who lost his job, who lost everything," the prosecutor said. "He was desperate."
Mired in recession and suffering from soaring unemployment, Italy had been in political deadlock since an inconclusive February election. Social and political tensions have been running high among voters divided among a center-left bloc, conservative parties and an anti-establishment protest movement, which capitalized on public disgust with politicians to become Parliament's No. 3 force in its first national election bid.
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A court in Kosovo found two citizens guilty of human trafficking and organized crime Monday in a major trial against seven people suspected of running an international organ trafficking ring that took kidneys from poor donors lured by financial promises.
A panel of two European Union judges and one Kosovo judge sentenced urologist Lutfi Dervishi to eight years in prison and his son Arban Dervishi to seven years and three months. Both also received fines, while Lutfi Dervishi was barred from practicing urology for two years.
A third defendant, Sokol Hajdini, was sentenced to three years in jail for causing grievous bodily harm. Two others received suspended sentences, while two were freed. The defendants can appeal the verdicts and they are not kept in custody.
Organ transplantation is illegal in Kosovo's private clinics. It is also rare in public health facilities because of poor conditions.
The trial began in December 2011 and included more than 100 witnesses. All the donors and recipients were foreign nationals.
Seven donors who testified were from Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey. They described how they were flown into Kosovo from Istanbul and then quickly wheeled into surgery in a medical facility named "Medicus" on the outskirts of Kosovo's capital, Pristina.
The victims were promised $10,000 to $12,000 in return for their kidneys, but many said they were never paid.
"At least two were cheated out of the entire amount and went home with no money and only one kidney," the court said in its reasoning.
The donors' kidneys were removed for transplantation into people who paid up to 130,000 euros for the procedure. The recipients were mostly wealthy patients from places such as Israel, Poland, Canada, the U.S. and Germany.
The court ordered that Lutfi and Arban Dervishi pay partial compensation of 15,000 euros to each of the seven victims who testified during the proceedings. The victims may later seek additional compensation in court, the panel said in its reasoning.
At least 24 kidney transplants, involving 48 donors and recipients, were carried out between 2008 and 2009, the period the case covered.
The donors "were alone, did not speak the language, uncertain of what they were doing and had no one to protect their interest," the court's reasoning read. "Some donors had severe second thoughts at the clinic, but were given no opportunity to back out and were psychologically pressured into going forward with the surgery."
Most of the names of donors and recipients were traced through documents seized during a police raid into the clinic in 2008 acting to verify a statement by a Turkish man that his kidney was removed. The man caught police's attention when he collapsed at the Pristina airport.
The defendants are believed to have profited $1 million from the transplants. It's unclear how many total donors and recipients there were.
"In every sense this was the cruel harvest of the poor and weak in our society," Jonathan Ratel, a Canadian prosecutor who brought the charges as part of European Union's rule of law mission in Kosovo, said after the verdicts.
He alleged that the sole motive of the defendants was "obscene profit and human greed." But the defendants claimed they were not guilty, arguing that the donors came to Kosovo voluntarily and that the surgeries saved lives.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Western Balkan States Pledge Strengthened Fight against Organized Crime
TEHRAN (FNA)- Ministers of Interior and Justice from Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Albania pledged at a conference to strengthen their fight against organized crime in the region.

Addressing the conference on Friday, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said no individual effort against organized crime or corruption could be successful without the continued cooperation of colleagues in the region, the Serbian news agency Tanjug reported.

"It seems to me that cooperation among police, prosecution and judicial officials is on a much higher level than cooperation among politicians," said Dacic, adding "I wish state officials cooperated in such a manner."

Dacic, also Serbian Minister of Interior, emphasized the importance of establishing a regional arrest warrant, based on the European model.

He also suggested the formation of joint investigation teams in the Western Balkan region that would improve the exchange of information and evidence for criminal proceedings.

"The fight against corruption and crime will remain among the most important priorities of the government of Serbia and the state authorities," said Dacic, who signed an agreement on the readmission of persons residing in a neighboring state with Montenegrin Minister of Interior Rasko Konjevic.

Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic called for a simplified extradition system in the region among other conventions to battle the increasingly "dangerous and better organized international crime".

Meanwhile, justice ministers attending the conference signed a letter of intent for the ratification of the Regional Convention on the Recognition and cross-border enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
Article from english.farsnews.com

Friday, April 12, 2013

Organized Crime in News : Russian official: Putin foe targeted for probe M...

Organized Crime in News :

Russian official: Putin foe targeted for probe
: Russian official: Putin foe targeted for probe MOSCOW (AP) — The spokesman for Russia's chief investigative body says that a cri...

Russian official: Putin foe targeted for probe

MOSCOW (AP) — The spokesman for Russia's chief investigative body says that a criminal probe of a Russian opposition leader was triggered by his fierce public stance, which authorities previously denied.
Lawyer and blogger Alexei Navalny exposed official corruption and spearheaded a series of massive protests in Moscow against Putin's return to the presidency in 2011 and 2012. Navalny, 36, goes on trial on Wednesday on charges of leading an organized crime group that stole timber worth 16 million rubles (about $500,000).
In an interview published Friday in Izvestia daily, Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, said investigators would not have looked into a "banal theft" if that wasn't for Navalny's reports alleging government corruption.
"If a person tries hard to attract attention, or if I can put it, teases authorities — 'look at me, I'm so good compared to everyone else' — well, then one gets more interested in his past and the process of exposing him naturally gets faster," Markin said.
The Investigative Committee ran a probe into Navalny's alleged embezzlement from a state-owned timber company in the Kirov region from 2011 to May 2012, when the case was closed. It was reopened a few months later after the agency's chief publicly harangued investigators for closing that probe.
The Investigative Committee works only with high-profile cases of major violent and economic crimes. The case like Navalny's would normally be handled by local authorities.
Navalny has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated.
In a blog post reacting to Markin's interview, Navalny said the investigator was confused about what the actual charge is. Markin mentioned that Navalny "forced" the timber firm to sell its produce at an artificially low price while the lawyer is charged with stealing the timber.
"This shows that they themselves are confused about how exactly the Investigative Committee is framing the case," Navalny said.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Russian-official-Putin-foe-targeted-for-probe-4429002.php#ixzz2QJ8Pn9Hh

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Former minister indicted in corruption case

BELGRADE -- The Office of the Organized Crime Prosecutor raised on Wednesday an indictment against former cabinet minister Oliver Dulić and several of his associates.

The former minister of environment and spatial planning from the ranks of the now opposition Democratic Party (DS) has been indicted for abuse of office related to the issuing work licences to the Slovenian company Nuba Invest.
Organized Crime Prosecutor Miljko Radisavljević told Tanjug the indictment was raised once his office had completed the investigation against Dulić, his former associate in the ministry Nebojsa Janjić and Putevi Srbije (Roads of Serbia) public enterprise Ddirector Zoran Drobnjak, as ordered by the Special Department of the Belgrade District Court. 
The prosecutor's office confirmed the suspicion that the accused had committed the crime in the indictment, Radisavljević stated. 
A proposal indictment was raised against Dulić mid-October, but the prosecutor's office acquired new evidence after the investigation was expanded and raised an indictment two weeks later charging Dulić, Janjic and Drobnjak of abuse of office, for which the maximum sentence is 12 years in prison. 
The Belgrade Special Court returned the indictment for additional work in early December and ordered that opinions from economic experts be added to determine the amount of profit gained from the crime. 
The three men are accused of violating proper procedure to allow Nuba Invest to build an optical network along state roads, which are managed by Putevi Srbije. These are the most important roads too, from Belgrade to the borders with Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. 
Dulić's lawyer said on Wednesday that he and his client had not been informed that about the formal indictment. 
Miloš Paligorić told Beta news agency that the decision "violated the right to defense because the defense lawyers had submitted motions for additional investigation". 
The Democratic Party also reacted, to say in a statement that the indictment was raised "for a crime that does not exist anywhere in Europe". 
The statement further stressed that the European Commission "demanded that Serbia should cancel this criminal act", because prosecuting it "gives too much room to the executive authorities to arrest and persecute those politically unsuitable," - i.e., its political opponents.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chicago Police program protects kids targeted with gang violence

It’s like an early warning system for an oncoming storm of violence heading straight for a Chicago Public School student.
And the forecaster is the Chicago Police Department.
Sometimes, the students have witnessed gang murders.
Other times, a gang-banger has killed a student’s family member, and the student fears he’s next.
In other instances, kids beings kids, they goof up — one kid mimicked a gang rap video, which was posted on YouTube, and 60,000 views later, the wannabe video star found himself the focus of deadly attention.
No matter the story, the students share a common trait.
Their lives are in serious danger.
Sounding the alarm to help save those students’ lives is a little-noticed unit of the Chicago Police Department — the Gang School Safety Team.
Over the past three years, at the team’s recommendation, about 60 students have been transferred to other schools for their protection.
Most are sent to another public school in Chicago.
Some head to the suburbs.
Others need to move out of state.
The stakes are high: Last year, 428 Chicago Public Schools students were shot, 40 of whom were killed, police said.
The Gang School Safety Team was formed in 2010 to respond to shootings of CPS students. The team works with Chicago Public Schools to convince families they need to move their children — and fast — out of harm’s way.
When a student is shot, officers on the team visit a victim’s school within 24 hours of the shooting and speak to the victim’s friends and associates to encourage them not to retaliate. When the officers learn of serious threats against students, they can recommend a transfer.
Students have been relocated to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado, authorities said. One student was sent to Milwaukee because his brother was shot to death and he feared he was next, officials said.
Chicago Public Schools doesn’t pay for moving expenses, but in some cases “might work with other partners and agencies to identify resources to support the family,” a CPS spokeswoman said.
Most of the transferred students are high-schoolers who receive threats because they are involved in gangs.
But one student, a high school senior, just happened to witness a murder on the South Side in 2011.
She feared for her life, especially after she saw some postings about her on the Internet.
“The people that did it, they saw me,” she said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “I was frightened.”
The Gang School Safety Team warned her mom, who agreed to transfer her to another South Side high school.
The girl is now studying biology at a college out of state and hopes to become a physical therapist.
She cooperated with detectives in the murder investigation, and the triggerman was convicted.
“It’s terrible that this happened, but if it wasn’t for this program, she probably would have blown her senior year,” her mother said. “We were actually going to exercise the option of her being home-schooled before I learned about the program.” Both agreed to speak with the Sun-Times on the condition they not be identified.
The 19-year-old student said the reason she wanted to transfer from her school wasn’t because she was afraid of other students. Instead, she didn’t want to come into contact with the gunman, who wasn’t a student but lived in the neighborhood near the school.
“I felt like it was necessary and I appreciated it,” she said of the transfer. “I did feel safe.”
2,200 interventions
The Gang School Safety Team is trained to talk with traumatized kids. The officers conduct interventions with individual students after a shooting. They always have a school official in the room, someone the student trusts.
If a principal wishes, the officers will also speak to the entire group of friends and associates of the victim — and even their rivals.
Since 2010, the Gang School Safety Team has conducted more than 2,200 interventions, with more than 600 of them in the current school year, police said.
“Our goal with the Gang School Safety Team is not to make an arrest, but to prevent gang-related violence from occurring in and around the school,” said Nicholas Roti, chief of the police department’s Organized Crime Bureau.
“Part of it is telling the kids, ‘We know who you are and what the gang structure is and if there is retaliation, it will be by one of your guys,’ ” Roti said. “We say, ‘Give us time and we will get the guy behind the shooting — and you won’t ruin your own life.’”
Stopping a 13-year-old’s murder
The team’s mission has expanded as teenagers have swarmed to the Internet to threaten gang rivals. Social media has become the modern graffiti wall for young gang members.
Officers on the team locate students whose lives have been threatened on social media such as Facebook and YouTube, and try to protect them.
One example is a 13-year-old elementary school student who made a rap video last month with his friends.
Posing outside a school, they mimicked gang videos posted by older rappers, but didn’t appreciate the deadly consequences, police said.
The young students mocked Joseph “Lil’ JoJo” Coleman, an 18-year-old rapper murdered last year in Englewood.
In the video, posted on YouTube, the 13-year-old boy waved a small silver gun and threatened to shoot an older teenager in the face.
He also shouted “GDK,” a threat to kill members of JoJo’s gang — the Gangster Disciples.
Officers on the Gang School Safety Team were tipped that Gangster Disciples were out to kill some of the students in the video, including the 13-year-old rapper.
There were numerous threats in the comments section of the video, which has been viewed more than 60,000 times to date, police said.
The threats included: “you gone end up like JoJo;” “that n---- dead;” and “ya’ll need more than that lil ass gun to be dissin’ the GD’s.”
On March 18 — two days after the video was posted — officers on the Gang School Safety Team identified the 13-year-old boy. They notified Chicago Public Schools and the boy’s grandmother of the threats.
That day, the boy didn’t go to school, and his grandmother agreed to transfer him to a south suburban school, police said.
The same day, members of the GDs stood outside the boy’s Englewood school looking for him. Police suspect the older gangsters were planning to kill him. Two younger boys in the video were later transferred to different schools, too, police said.
‘Other cities could learn from what Chicago is doing’
Sometimes, the team takes action to protect a student who threatens to harm himself.
In December, the team identified a high school student who posted an online threat to commit suicide, police said.
The student had planned to go to school, create a disturbance that would require officers to respond and force them to shoot him so he could “die by cop,” police said. The Gang School Safety Team notified the boy’s parents and he was hospitalized.
Last week, the team came to the aid of an entire family who was in danger.
The officers worked with the Chicago Housing Authority to move a family to different CHA housing after a student got into a fight that sparked threats against the family.
Two Chicago Public Schools students in the family were moved to a different school, police said.
Although their primary mission is to prevent retaliatory shootings and protect students from violence, Gang School Safety Team officers sometimes get tips about murders and shootings from the students they meet in their interventions.
The officers pass them along to detectives, and some of the tips have been key to solving the shootings, police said.
“We don’t see the ‘no-snitch code’ very much in our interventions because they trust us,” said one member of the team, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The team also is involved in the safety planning surrounding the announced closing of about 50 elementary schools in Chicago in the fall.
The Gang School Safety Team — founded by Cmdr. Leo Schmitz and Sgt. Kenneth Boudreau — started on the South Side as a pilot program, but now operates citywide. It has two sergeants, including Boudreau, and 15 officers.
The officers who work on the South Side have their headquarters in a police station in Englewood. They have a spartan office whose walls are decorated with rows of colorful T-shirts made in honor of slain teenagers such as Lil’ JoJo.
Their work over the past three years is impressive, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a law-enforcement think tank in Washington, D.C.
Wexler was a key player in the discussions that led to the creation of the team.
“There is no other city in the country that does this like Chicago does,” he said. “Other cities could learn from what Chicago is doing.”
(Article from Chicago Sun-Time.com)

Gambino Family hitman indicted for murder of police informant

Daniel Fama, an alleged hitman associated with the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, was charged on Friday with the 1990 murder of a suspected police informant, Eddie Garofalo. Fama arrested byFBI agents on Thursday and was presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal courtFriday afternoon.
While Fama was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox, it is U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter who is officially assigned this major case.
The Gambino Organized Crime Family is a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in numerous acts of violence, including murder. The head of the family is known as the “Boss,” and he is typically assisted by an “Underboss.” At all times relevant to the charges in the Fama indictment, John Gotti, Sr., was the Boss and Salvatore Gravano, a/k/a “Sammy the Bull,” was the Underboss of the Gambino Organized Crime Family.
According to the allegations contained in the indictment unsealed Friday in Manhattan federal court, as well as other court documents:
In 1990, "Sammy 'the Bull' Gravano" ordered Associate Fama and others to murder Eddie Garofalo for, among other things, cooperating with a law enforcement investigation into the Gambino Organized Crime Family. On August 8, 1990, Fama and others shot and killed the Garofalo in front of his Brooklyn, New York, home.
Fama, 48, of Staten Island, New York, is charged with killing a person with the intent to prevent that person from communicating to a law enforcement officer information related to the commission of a federal offense. The charge carries a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “More than two decades since Daniel Fama allegedly killed a suspected government informant, he has finally been arrested. Any attack against someone working with, or suspected of working with, law enforcement will be strongly answered, and no matter how long it takes we will bring alleged criminals to justice.”
(Article from Examiner.com)