Leicester criminologist studies money laundering

Posted by pt91 at May 30, 2017 11:43 AM |
New EU co-funded project examines risk in three countries

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 May 2017

A University of Leicester criminologist has been involved in a new study on money laundering.

Dr Matt Hopkins, from the Department of Criminology, contributed to the report which assessed which are the regions in Italy, the Netherlands and UK with the highest risk of money laundering and which are the most vulnerable economic sectors.

The final report of Project IARM- Identifying and Assessing the Risk of Money Laundering in Europe (http://www.transcrime.it/iarm/) provides some first preliminary answers to these questions.

Started in January 2015, Project IARM was co-funded by the European Commission and coordinated by Transcrime - Research Centre of the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore (www.transcrime.it/en/) in cooperation with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and University of Leicester (United Kingdom).

Adopting a quantitative approach, project IARM has developed a composite indicator of money laundering risk at geographic area level and at business sector level. The indicator combines a variety of risk factors, grouped between money laundering (ML) threats and vulnerabilities, then transformed into a set of proxy variables. Among the covered risk factors, for example, the infiltration of organised crime groups, the level of tax evasion, cash intensiveness and the opacity and complexity of the ownership structure of businesses registered in a certain area or business sector. The methodology was tested in three pilot countries: Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The report found:

  • In Italy, the provinces with the highest money laundering risk are in the south, with four Calabrian provinces ranking at the top (Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia, Catanzaro, Crotone). Please find here the map;
  • In the United Kingdom, analysis focuses on England and Wales. The City of London emerges as the area with the highest ML risk (see map here); conurbations such as the Metropolitan Police area, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands also emerge as high-risk.
  • The economic sector with the highest estimated ML risk in Italy is bars and restaurants. It is characterised by high cash-intensiveness, irregular economy, opacity of business ownership and relatively high levels of organised crime infiltration. In the Netherlands, the business sector with the highest ML risk is casinos, gambling and gaming businesses. Also hotels, bars and restaurants rank highly; in the UK, real estate businesses highlight the risk of links between the UK property market and companies/individuals from opaque jurisdictions.

Dr Hopkins said: “This study aims to build a methodology to help policy makers better understand where the geographical hotspots for money laundering are and which business sectors might be most vulnerable. The approach could be adopted for future National Risk Assessments of money laundering.”

For full details please see Executive summary, the full Report, the European Commission website

During the project, the main partners received the support and feedback of different institutional authorities, such as the UIF – the Italian Financial Intelligence Unit, with­in the Bank of Italy (Italy), the Dutch Ministry of Finance (the Netherlands), the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice (the Netherlands) and the NPCC – National Police Chiefs’ Council (United Kingdom).

You can access the full report here:




For more information, contact Dr Hopkins at ermail: mh330@le.ac.uk

Share this page: