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    Europol Reveals Insights on Criminal Gangs in Europe: Poles Engaged in Various Specializations

    Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, recently unveiled data shedding light on the continent’s most perilous criminal networks. According to their report, 821 of the most dangerous criminal organizations operate within legal business structures, utilizing them for money laundering, drug trafficking, smuggling through ports, and VAT fraud. Unfortunately, Polish citizens also feature among Europol’s listings.

    The agency, tasked with coordinating efforts among EU member states to combat organized crime, disclosed that 86% of Europe’s most perilous criminal groups exploit legal business structures as tools to facilitate crimes, cover them up, and launder profits. Sectors like construction, real estate, hospitality, and logistics stand particularly vulnerable to criminal exploitation.

    Europol highlighted the role of legal professionals and financial experts in facilitating money laundering in real estate transactions, often unknowingly. Nightclubs, linked to drug trade, extortion, human trafficking, and arms dealing, are prevalent hubs for criminal activities. Moreover, corruption among private sector employees in logistics, especially in major European ports, grants criminals unrestricted access to port facilities and systems.

    The majority of Europe’s most dangerous gangs focus on drug trafficking, primarily involving cocaine, cannabis, heroin, and synthetic drugs. Operations are predominantly situated in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, with Dubai emerging as a remote coordination center for high-ranking gang members.

    Poland’s presence on Europe’s criminal map is notable. Polish criminal groups specialize in marijuana and synthetic drug smuggling, cigarette smuggling, and automotive crimes. Collaborating with Slovak and Ukrainian counterparts, Polish criminal organizations often operate beyond national borders, extending their reach to markets in Spain and the United Kingdom.

    Furthermore, Europol’s report highlights Polish involvement in VAT fraud, particularly through carousel fraud schemes, causing the EU an estimated annual loss of around 100 billion euros. Many of these criminal networks have persisted for years, with one-third operating for over a decade,

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