About the project
The project seeks to enhance and develop the community of investigators in Romania to decrease the expansion of organized crime, corruption and financial crime groups and has the following objectives:
- to provide support to law enforcement, investigative media and civil society through skill-sharing sessions
- to develop support tools in order to diminish the gap between the different investigatory communities
- to exchange experiences with counterparts from Republic of Moldova
Romania faces great challenges from national, regional, and global illicit networks involved in trafficking, money laundering, corruption, cybercrime or banking fraud. Cybercrimes, including misappropriation and extortion, are increasing and some of the most frequent in Romania. International money-laundering investigations published in the last decade had shown that criminal networks used Romania for their financial crimes. Laundered money comes from national and international crime syndicates who conduct criminal activity in Romania and subsequently launder their illicit proceeds through the secretive shell and offshore companies. Such illegal activities bring negative social, economic, and political effects, undermine social and political stability by reducing government trust, and hindering or hampering domestic and foreign investments and trade.
The project addresses the issue of corruption and organized crime and the impact of new technologies regarding their investigation. Our goal is to enable experts from the key stakeholders to increase their capacity to investigate financial crimes. We aim to support the interaction between these communities by exposing journalists, law enforcement, and civil society to our skill-sharing sessions. The product of these interactions would be better procedures and new investigatory skills at a broader level. The project concentrates on the Romanian community of investigators and helps them become active users of the modern and comprehensive tools provided by the new tech developments in order to perform their tasks efficiently and in a diligent manner.
The EU rule of law report for 2021 highlighted that the fight against corruption is hindered by lack of political will, as well as legal obstacles and lack of certainty of legal provisions. While the new Anticorruption Strategy has been approved in December 2021, its implementation could depend on a high proportion of the political will to increase transparency and put into practice anti-corruption measures. Our project will encourage stronger legislative and judicial action against organized crime and corruption that is in line with international standards.
Our experience shows that one way to increase the level of expertise in a community is to expose it to experts from other sectors and regions. This is why we are sure the project will benefit significantly by having trainers and investigative journalists from Norway sharing their skills and experience in investigating financial crimes. Exchanging good practices with experts from Norway would be beneficial because Romania was ranked 29/32 on the AML Index of the Basel Institute for Good Governance, while Norway is ranked fifth. The Norwegian Institute of Journalism, a well-known and acknowledged organization for media practitioners will provide support and will contribute to the development of the trainings.
- The partners will organize a series of 7 training sessions in Bucharest and at regional level for some 20 prosecutors, police officers and investigative journalists. Participants may also represent other relevant institutions, such as the the National Integrity Agency or the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering. Some of the topics reached in our trainings are the following:
- How do journalists investigate organized crime, corruption and financial crimes?
- How to use open souce intelligence (OSINT) to build up investigations?
- What tech tools can be used to follow the money?
- How to identify organized crime, corruption, fraud, money laundering patterns?
- What are the different components of money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud?
- What are the offshore structures used in money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud schemes and how do they act?
- The use of cryptocurrencies in financial crimes
- Relation between financial crimes and political party finance and tools to investigate.
- The project will include a final online event, organized with Romanian and Moldovan journalists and representatives of national relevant institutions, in order to promote the results of previous activities, increase capacity and enhance cooperation.
- Additionally, to increase the impact of the activities, the project will include the following deliverables:
- Preparation of an online training kit, with the information presented in the sessions, available for interested stakeholders.
- Publication of a research about new type of threats related to financial fraud in Romania.
- Publication of a research report about the effects of corruption and financial fraud in public spending. The endeavour continues and strengthens our previous research in the field of local and national investments and subsidies
Expert Forum is one of the most active civil society organizations in the field on anti-corruption and justice and has implemented a high number of projects promoting the rule of law. Since 2011 we have worked with magistrates and police officers, as well as with investigative institutions such as the National Anticorruption Directorate, the National Integrity Agency, the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets and others. We have worked with hundreds of beneficiaries in order to increase the investigative capacity of these institutions through trainings, guidebooks, providing international expertise and facilitating meetings with journalists.
CONTEXT Investigative Reporting Project is a Romanian independent media start-up that aims to expand the investigative reporting ecosystem. It is set up by experienced investigative reporters who fight organized crime and corruption with their journalistic tools. It is imagined as an R&D lab for investigative reporters. It uses data and innovation to uncover fraud, corruption, and organized crime in Romania.
The Norwegian Institute of Journalism staff of teachers, together with external lecturers, covers a wide field of journalistic competencies: press law and ethics, digital research and reporting, data journalism, investigative journalism, research, language, writing skills, photo and layout, newsroom management and editorial coaching, evaluation and quality measurement; audience development and media trends.
The project ”Strong community of investigators against organized crime and corruption” benefits from a € 180,000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants. The aim of the project is to enhance and develop the community of investigators in Romania to decrease the expansion of organized crime, corruption and financial crime groups.
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