U.S. Treasury Targets Leading Figures of Transnational Criminal Organizations
By Dialogo January 25, 2013
The U.S. Department of the Treasury took action on January 23 against three transnational criminal organizations (TCO), the Camorra, the Yakuza, and the Brothers’ Circle.
The designations include four members of the Camorra, one of Europe’s largest criminal organizations; the Inagawa-kai, the third-largest clan within the Japanese Yakuza criminal network; and an individual providing support to a key member of the Brothers’ Circle, a large multi-ethnic Eurasian criminal network. These designations were imposed under the Treasury’s authority targeting transnational organized crime.
President Obama identified the Camorra, the Yakuza, and the Brothers’ Circle along with the Zetas, as significant TCOs in the Annex to Executive Order 13581 (Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations) on July 24, 2011, and charged the Treasury Department with pursuing additional sanctions against its members and supporters to undermine and interdict their global criminal operations.
This action freezes any assets these persons may have within the jurisdiction of the United States and generally prohibits any transactions with them by U.S. persons.
“The individuals designated today are key members of criminal organizations who engage in serious crimes around the world,” said David S. Cohen, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Treasury will continue to target additional members and supporters of these groups, as well as other significant TCOs, as we systematically expose their criminal operations and protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit activity.”
The Camorra operates internationally and is involved in serious criminal activity, such as money laundering, extortion, human smuggling, robbery, blackmail, kidnapping, political corruption, and counterfeiting. In 2012 Italian law enforcement conducted multiple operations to seize Camorra assets, including 800 million euro (approximately $1.066 billion) 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.
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 on January 23, 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.
This 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.
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 was designated on January 23, is a key part of Zakhariy Kalashov’s network. Kalashov communicates with Kalashova to pass messages on his behalf to his organization.