In Italy, a country shaped by its culture for food and eating, restaurants and bars moves 86 billion euros a year (FIPE 2019 estimate – Federazione Italiana Pubbblici Esercizi ), of which a great part is collected in cash.

For this reason the sector is among mafias’ favorites for criminal investments.

The pandemic and the closures of bars and restaurants until March 5, 2021 (according to the provisions of the Prime Ministerial Decree of January 14th 2021), brings a strong contraction for traditional HO.RE.CA sector, together with its Partners and Stakeholders.

Part of the restaurant industry face the risk of selling its business-soul to the devil-mafia and consequently for cosa nostra, ‘ndrangheta, camorra and other criminal organizations, the economic crisis represent the best moments to reinvest illicit money. The tremendous volumes of cash from illegal activities makes easy to acquire ownership or control of those legitimate Companies dealing with financial troubles; even just to “set a foot” inside an unsuspected Company.

A risk now stronger

The restaurant industry recognize the risk together with their partner from the food industry: this is what Coldiretti stated on September 2020 before the Justice Commission of the National Chamber of Deputies.

The report of Coldiretti (the largest association representing and assisting Italian agriculture) is based on the Semi-annual Report of the DIA (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia) to the Parliament ; the report highlights the situation where five thousand restaurants lies in the hands of crime and the agro-food industry is becoming one of the priority areas of investment for the organized crime.

The turnover affected by criminal ties, goes “from the field to the table” and is simply dizzying since catering, agriculture, livestock farming and food distribution means 24.5 billion euros.

Lack of liquidity is a burden for restaurateurs’ shoulders

The lack of liquidity affecting many economic activities now expose these same companies to the risk of usury.

According to Coldiretti, crime takes possession in a number of companies part of the agro-food chain: from the fields to the shelves, destroying competition and the free market.

For the food industry, the organized-crime infiltration directly threaten quality and safety of production, with a potential  boomerang effect to the image and the Made in Italy brand.

Password: camouflage

Organized crime is able to protect the financial power grown from illegal activities, by moving as articulated financial holdings, within which the restaurants represent efficient covers used to shield the identity of real owners and the origin of capital.

The operations led by Authorities reveals the interests of criminal organizations in the agro-food sector and specifically in catering in its various forms, from franchising to exclusive premises, from bars and trattorie to luxury restaurants and fashionable “clubs”.

Lombardy stand as proof

Lombardy stand as proof, to testifythe risk of usury and extortion against companies in the provinces of Milan, Monza and Lodi as a fact: this is part of the analysis led by the Union of Commerce of Milan and the Mine Crime platform.

Money laundering as part of Customer risk management.

The infiltration of organized crime within the economic system is fought with determination by the forces of law and order and in particular by the Guardia di Finanza.

The situation may let us thinking that we can’t prevent this risk but the philosophy adopted by the authorities shows that we can play a relevant part in fighting against illicit business partners in the food industry and HO.RE.CA sector.

Companies dealing with the HO.RE.CA sector, while assessing the financial and credit risk linked to its Customers, can detect at the same time the reputational risk linked to both Companies and Persons: in few word, you can understand if a new partner has previously exhibited fraudulent or illegal behavior.

The Credit Risk Manager is the right subject to apply the most effective, rapid and economical screening to detect reputational and fraud risk.

Each company can advantage from the right tools.

Cheope match strong ability in data providing, both official and investigative, with a focus to the Client’s need.

We are able to provide official evidences and investigative focus, linked together by a strong and clear reporting.

Our AML and CFT screening Service are shaped by our expertise and the constant attention to legislative frame.

And when you need assistance, CHEOPE’ staff is ready to support you directly from the headquarters in Lodi, Viale Milano 40.

Get in touch with us; we will empower together your screening process.