This report provides an overview of the work that took place in 1999 within the framework of Europol and Europol Drugs Unit (EDU). In 1999 Europol was able fully to take up its activities from the legal point of view but in practice the additionally necessary legal, technical and methodological instruments had, and in some cases still have to be created, refined and implemented. Further endeavours are needed in order to carry out all the operational functions entrusted to Europol.
During the transition period from Europol Drugs Unit contracts had to be drawn up and signed, as the seconded personnel transferred to Europol staff and became subject to its regulations. Additional staff had to be hired from some thirty services within the fifteen Member States. Originating from different cultures and working environments, they had to be integrated into a common institutional and legal framework. The work involved in this exercise cannot be underestimated, bearing in mind that new working methods had to be introduced together with administrative support. A good example is provided by the Analysis Work Files. Whereas at national level these matters have been developed and implemented over many years, Europol was expected to be ready within a matter of months.
The European Union Member States’ law enforcement agencies and Europol have faced demanding professional challenges. Some of these arose from the unstable situation in the Balkans that has affected Europe in many ways, not least with regard to criminality. The threats to our society from drugs and illegal immigration controlled by organised crime have been given priority in our work. The development of information and communication technology has also required our attention during this year and will continue to do so.
The consequences of the Amsterdam Treaty, especially of Article 30, and more recently the Tampere Special Council decisions will undoubtedly create great challenges for all parties involved in the development of law enforcement activities within the framework of Europol. This involves a tremendous amount of hard work before the objectives are met. Such preparatory work took place already in 1999 and bound considerable resources.
Within the European Union framework high priority has been given to the enlargement process and the further development of its international connections, which also applies to Europol. Within Europol already in 1999 a great deal of work has been dedicated to prepare for the co-operation with third states, especially applicant countries and other organisations such as ICPO-Interpol and World Customs Organisation (WCO). It is regrettable that the European Union Council has not found itself able to give effect to these aspirations. Europol continued to strengthen its common crime-fighting efforts with European Union institutions such as the European Commission, Office pour la Lutte Anti-Fraude (OLAF), European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and other relevant bodies.
Bearing all this in mind it is obvious that the year 1999 has been particularly meaningful for
Europol from the historical point of view, as this has been the year when the European Union got its common law enforcement body. For the staff members and others working closely with Europol, this has been a very demanding year, which required a high level of commitment. We have many objectives ahead of us and it is of utmost importance that the level of motivation remains as high as it is now among the individuals working for this common goal.
The Director of Europol
This report is elaborated in accordance with Article 28 of the Europol Convention, which invites the Management Board to adopt unanimously each year a general report on Europol’s activities during the previous year. The report will then be submitted to the Council of Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice in accordance with the procedure laid down in Title VI of the Treaty of the European Union.
The report also describes some of the activities undertaken during the year by the Management Board, the Joint Supervisory Body and the Financial Controller.
In the Europol Work Programme for 1999 some main developments were outlined, namely: · The creation of a department for intelligence and specialist knowledge;
· To implement the rules for relationships with third countries and organisations;
· To start activities in supporting Member States law enforcement agencies including new areas of criminality, as Europol’s competencies were scheduled to be extended to include forgery of money and means of payment and to terrorism;
· To assist and participate in, as appropriate, European Union activities; 0 To refine the business planning procedures.
At the end of the year 1999 the status of these main developments can be described briefly as follows.
The department for intelligence and specialist knowledge was created. The Intelligence Model was further elaborated. A number of operational meetings were also facilitated.
The Co-operation Unit was created to deal with co-operation with third states and organisations. Initial work methods were elaborated and first contacts with third states and organisations took place. However, for reasons beyond Europol’s influence, at the end of the year the official start of negotiations had to be postponed to 2000. To prevent and combat crimes in the course of terrorist activities was introduced within the Europol field of activities. Europol was able to offer its first services in this field. This also applies to the work done in the field of forgery of money, particularly when related to the Euro currency. Europol’s mandate was supplemented to include combating criminality related to child pornography.
During 1999 a considerable amount of resources were devoted to provide assistance and to take part in various programmes of the European Union mainly for providing training.
The business planning procedure was refined and enhanced but at the same time it has been recognised that it is necessary to continually evaluate all procedures linked to this process in order to maintain the momentum for improvement.
2. Europol Management Board
During the German Presidency four meetings of the Europol Management Board took place finalising, among other things, the necessary preparatory work in order to allow Europol to fully to take up its activities – e.g. the rules concerning the transmission of personal data by Europol to third states and third bodies, the Europol Financial Regulations, the Europol Security Manual, a Supplementary and Amended Europol Budget 1999.
In addition, the extension of the Europol mandate to cover counterfeiting of currency and other means of payment and crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities were prepared by the Management Board.
The Secretariat of the Management Board was formally established on 1 July 1999 with the start of the activities of Europol. During the Finnish Presidency three meetings of the Europol Management Board took place. The Management Board has either adopted or prepared relevant Council decisions in relation to matters such as the establishment of seven Europol Analysis Work Files as a part of the new procedure, the start of Europol’s negotiations with third states and third bodies in order to establish formal agreements, the Europol Work Programme 2000, the Europol Budget 2000, the Five Year Business Plan and the Five Year Financing Plan for 2000-2004.
In view of the difficult discussions in respect of the Europol Budget 2000 the Management Board furthermore decided to initiate an evaluation focused on the planning and budget processes leading to Europol’s presentation of the draft budget 2001 and following draft budgets.
In addition there were several meetings of the Europol Computer System Project Board and workshops to consider in detail the requirement of the Information System and the plans for a new telecommunication infrastructure. Resulting from the very substantial preparatory work by these bodies the Management Board selected in November the consortium to finalise the specifications and to deliver the Europol Information System.
3. Financial Controller
The Europol Financial Controller started his activities on 1 July 1999.
The most important activities of the Financial Controller were concentrated on the monitoring of the commitment and reimbursement of expenditure. Beside that, the Financial Controller drafted a report on contracts and the management of contracts. Furthermore, the Financial Controller gave advice to the evaluation team.
4. Intelligence & Specialised knowledge
4.1 Intelligence Model and working methods
Related to the external and internal information and intelligence flow within the framework of Europol and its partners, the Intelligence Model aims to establish a structured way of covering issues to support investigations and operations and especially the analytical work in Analysis Work Files.
The work on parts of the Model, describing the Intelligence concept, definitions, the overall process, outputs, inputs, function and structures plus role of participants outlined in six scenarios has been finalised.
Work was carried out in order to have a better understanding of the information and intelligence flow in the Europol National Units resulting in a document describing the structures and practical use of information channels within the Member States, the role of the Europol National Units as focal point for ‘Routing and Handling of Information’.
An internal study was conducted on Member States practice and restrictions on the usage of data and a special meeting was held for ‘Legal Experts and law enforcement intelligence experts’.
Drug trafficking and the production of synthetic drugs are a major concern for all Member States.
In spite of the fact that within the field of international law enforcement activities the operational environment is changing fast and new priorities are developing, drug related crimes have always had and most likely will keep top priority. This applies also to Europol and drug related criminality remains a main area of attention. This is shown by the fact that 58% of the total enquiries dealt with by the Europol Information Exchange System relates to drugs. It worthy of note that in many cases the information exchange led to arrests or other appropriate law enforcement interventions.
During 1999, the Drugs Group gradually moved from strategic to operational activities. Prioritisation of activities was mainly based on the 5th European Situation Report on drugs production and drugs trafficking.
Three operational projects dealt with Latin American criminal groups, their smuggling routes and modus operandi, as well as links between different groups and criminal investigations. This has led to an upgrade of the quality of information and analysis, which may have an operational impact within the participant Member States. In the course of the year, two of the three projects became subject of Analysis Work Files. The analytical work has enabled linking various pieces of information together and giving a better picture of operational networks active from Latin America towards Europe.
Arising from strategic work, an investigation into a major Turkish drug trafficking group was initiated by one Member State in co-operation with other Member States and Europol. As an example of another form of operational activity, it should be mentioned that Europol participated in a surveillance operation initiated by the Customs Co-operation Working Party, which targeted heroin trafficking along the Balkan routes.
The 1997 strategic report on ethnic Albanian-Yugoslav criminal groups was updated. Operational activities against such groups by law enforcement agencies in the Member States continued, involving the Europol Liaison Officers of participating Member States, the Analysis Unit and the Drugs Group.
In the work on a strategic overview of the impact on the European Union of ethnic Chinese criminal groups, some preliminary steps have been taken, to be followed by operational initiatives in 2000.
Information on seizures of ecstasy pills was collected and will be further elaborated within the framework of the so-called Ecstasy Logo Database. An operational project was initiated by one Member State, involving several others and Europol. Several seizures of Ecstasy tablets could be interconnected. A new version of the Ecstasy-catalogue was produced in hard copy and on CDROM.
In the framework of the Joint Action on the Early Warning System on new synthetic drugs, the Drugs Group participated in the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and a risk assessment on two substances: MBDB and 4-MTA.
The manual on the production of synthetic drugs was updated. The drafting of a manual to assist law enforcement agencies in actions against illicit cultivation of cannabis is in preparation.
4.3 Illegal Immigration
In 1999 illegal immigration was an important issue on the agenda of most of the Member States and therefore remained a high priority within the framework of Europol. The involvement of organised crime in illegal immigration is as widespread as the phenomenon itself. This is also mirrored in the growing law enforcement activities in this field, as the number of requests forwarded to Europol increased.
The information exchange and related co-operation with the Member States has improved considerably. Co-ordinated actions supported by Europol against the involved networks led to several arrests and convictions. Moreover, Member States requested and received Europol assistance in arranging a joint investigation meeting for the investigators.
The Intelligence Bulletin on Illegal Immigration was changed and improved in quality and usefulness. It is one way to assist Member States in the co-ordination of investigations and operations, and to support the agencies with Intelligence on Illegal Immigration Networks. Two Analysis Work Files on illegal immigration were opened and data was received from Member States, although the quality and quantity of the data varied considerable. The urgency procedure to open an Analysis Work File was used for the first time for one of the files.
A General Situation Report on Illegal Immigration 1998 was produced. Good participation from Member States was seen and the quality and contents of the national reports had noticeably improved, following the use of previously agreed guidelines. 4.4 Trafficking in Human Beings
The phenomenon of Trafficking in Human Beings for sexual exploitation and Child Pornography
has received more and more public attention over the last years and is increasing in spite of all law enforcement efforts.
The general trend in this area of crime over the past years is the increase of victims from Central and Eastern Europe to the European Union. However, many victims are still trafficked to Europe from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Member States were offered support in three different operational cases of trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, including valuable analytical support to the investigation.
The General Situation Report on Trafficking in Human Beings for 1998 was published. The quality of the report improved significantly in comparison with previous general situation reports. This was partly facilitated by the fact that the questionnaire recently elaborated by Europol provided the Member States with possibilities to deliver more qualitative data than in the past.
An Intelligence Bulletin on Trafficking in Human Beings was created from information and intelligence provided by the Member States. The first issue was published at the beginning of 1999 and so far the bulletin has been published every second month.
4.5 Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear and Radioactive Substances
An initiative to co-ordinate information exchange with Member States and the intention to cooperate and share (database) information with the World Customs Organisation, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Institute for Transuranium Elements has been started. A modest amount of information exchange was reported in this field.
4.6 Illicit Vehicle Trafficking
Concerning the criminality related with motor vehicles, the emphasis of Europol’s activities was on trafficking of the illicitly obtained vehicles to Eastern and Central Europe.
The Chairman of the Operative Committee of the Baltic Sea Co-operation on the Fight against Organised Crime requested Europol to co-ordinate and support an operation on the gathering of information on organised illicit vehicle trafficking in this area.
As stolen cars normally are registered and legalised in another country as second hand cars, Europol started a second hand car project. In this context, Europol supported two operations, involving, for the first time, two candidate countries.
In the first one, Operation Victor, Europol supported and co-ordinated an operation on controlling the registration of imported second-hand cars. Europol assisted Member States, Hungary and Lithuania to schedule and structure their law enforcement activities, supported by exchange of information and intelligence, and by analysis. This operation has been successfully finished and investigations have arisen with several arrests and seizures of stolen cars. There is still an ongoing parallel project and the first operational results led to a number of new national investigations.
These two operations not only provided operational results but also may improve the national registration procedures for second hand cars.
With regard to standardisation procedures on European level, Europol concentrated on the procedure for “After-Theft-Systems-for-Vehicle-Recovery”. A substantial upgrade of the information exchange procedure has been reached.
4.7 Financial Crime
From 1 July 1999 Europol’s mandate has been extended to the forgery of money and (other) means of payment.
The European Council decided during the Tampere meeting that Europol’s mandate should be extended to money laundering in general (instead of money laundering related to specific predicate offences).
4.7.1 Money Laundering
In the area of money laundering Europol contributed to the operational investigations in the
Member States by facilitating the exchange of information via the Europol Liaison Network (in 145
cases, approximately 7% of the total number in 1999) and by giving analytical support to 4 operational money laundering investigations and to the financial aspects of several other investigations.
In accordance with the advice received from the Heads of National Units, Europol reserved resources to support criminal investigations in the area of money laundering by providing expertise at request. However, no request was received from competent services in the Member States.
Europol participated in the development of methods addressing the financial aspects in a criminal investigation. Under the aegis of the Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime (MDG) and in close co-operation with the General Secretariat of the Council, an analysis was made of the expertise regarding financial investigation in three Member States. The conclusions of these analysis were used to draw up a training model for financial investigations, to be implemented in all Member States.
Furthermore Europol contributed to the preparation of a concept on the exchange of information between the Financial Intelligence Units and to the preparation of the questionnaire on the existing regulations on the reversal of the burden of proof in confiscation matters.
4.7.2 Forgery of Money and other means of payment
The decision to extend the mandate with forgery of money and other means of payment took effect as from 1 July 1999.
Europol gave and will continue to give the highest priority to matters related to the counterfeit of the Euro currency. Europol promptly started with the necessary administrative measures to recruit experts to work in this field. This was followed by the elaboration of a general plan, and also by a consideration of the technical aspects related to this issue and of the role various institutions micht have in this respect.
Until now several issues have been addressed dealing with questions such as prevention, national information flow, and products to be provided by Europol. Furthermore, discussion with experts has been initiated for first preliminary considerations on a number of complicated issues related to this matter.
It should be mentioned that in this respect essential support was received from Member States that supported Europol in the process particularly by seconding their experts to work at Europol. Experts from France, Germany, Italy and Spain gave their contribution enabling the initiation of the preparative phase of the Euro Project within Europol.
Europol made major efforts to promote the exchange of investigation and operational related information between Member States and to introduce Europol as a new partner to the authorities responsible for this law enforcement task. The number of cases in the field of terrorism in which Europol and Europol Liaison Officers assisted is, however, still very low.
Legislation related to terrorism was collected from all Member States and stored in a way that it is accessible for the Europol Liaison Officers and Europol officials.
The creation of a directory of competencies in combating certain crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities has been completed for consultation via the established Europol channels.
During the year terrorism related open source material was collected and further disseminated to the relevant Member State authorities, thus further expanding the users’ possibilities to use existing information. The information was digested and produced on a weekly basis and a total of 37 of such digests were disseminated in 1999.
Based on the contributions of the Member States, a Glossary of Terrorist Groups has been
completed. As a part of Europol’s information system, this Glossary is available for consultation by the law enforcement agencies. During 1999 a procedure was established, enabling Member States to report to Europol about terrorist incidents and terrorist crimes.
In the second half of the year requests to open two Analysis Work Files dealing with two specific forms of terrorism, concerning active criminal groups in the European Union, were initiated. Europol and the competent authorities of the Member States thoroughly prepared, among others things, special meetings, the structure of information and intelligence flow and the work methods in these two analysis projects.
Also in this field of activities it should be mentioned that essential support was received from Member States that supported Europol in the process, particularly by seconding their experts to work at Europol. Experts from Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark gave their contribution enabling the initiation of the preparative phase of the work to be done when preventing and combating certain crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities.
4.9 Projects on organised crime in and from other regions
The European Situation Report on Eastern-European Organised Crime was updated. In this area
two Analysis Work Files were opened after an overview was elaborated of all existing European initiatives in this field. Support was provided to the seminar arranged by the Finnish Presidency, the European Union Russia Conference on Combating Organised Crime and the Practitioner Forum in Helsinki in December 1999. The project initiated in previous year by the Danish authorities (and Europol Drugs Unit) on Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs became the subject of an Analysis Work File and was handed over to Europol, as soon as the legal conditions allowed this. This project had an active participation by several Member States, as all of them were involved in combating these illegal activities.
Europol made some progress in a project designed to collate, analyse and disseminate to the appropriate agencies, intelligence related to maritime criminal activity. A number of difficulties still need to be resolved, but it is anticipated that a further meeting of Member States in the first semester of 2000 will result in significant progress.
As there is no doubt that organised crime is increasingly taking more advantage of high technology, it is mandatory that already at this early stage Europol remains updated with the developments in this respect. A report on this subject has been drafted, identifying some techniques and possibilities for the misuse of high technology by organised crime groups. Europol together with the Member States have started to prepare projects in order to increase the knowledge of preventive and operational actions that could be undertaken.
In order to co-ordinate the activities related to crime prevention, Europol and the European Commission organised their first Forum in November 1999 at Europol. Different consultations with external experts were conducted. The forum was attended by a large number of participants, who represented law enforcement, public administration, business sector and academic environment.
5. Intelligence Analysis
5.1 Crime Analysis
5.1.1 Operational Analysis
The experiences made in the different operational analysis have already resulted in the identification of a number of new requirements as well as the modification of specific functionalities. The new functions will however take some time to be implemented.
a) Analysis Work Files
The start of Europol as a legal entity led to the creation of Analysis Work Files from September 1999. These files are aimed at long term operational analyses, involving two or more Member States although the complexity of these analyses may or may not be greater than for the normal analytical support to Member State investigations. The process to open such a file still seemed to be rather bureaucratic and very time consuming.
It is also to be stressed that the transmission of relevant data and information from the Member States until now is very slow. This is due both to the novelty of the Analysis Work Files procedure and to problems encountered by participating Member States in collecting at national level such data and information.
A total of seven Europol Analysis Work Files were opened in 1999 and three further Analysis Work Files were in preparation in the last weeks of the year and it is expected that these will be opened in early 2000.
Where it is considered necessary, the Europol Director may invoke an emergency order opening procedure, and in one specific case this was carried out, with confirmation to the order being given by the Management Board at a later date.
A comprehensive procedural document to assist Member States is in preparation and this will allow greater uniformity in the creation of the Analysis Work Files.
b) Analytical Support to Member States’ Investigations
The beginning of the year saw the continuation of the operational analysis work under the auspices of one Member State supported by other Member States and Europol. Throughout the year a total of 1 1 new Member State’s analyses in support of their investigations were undertaken in most areas of the Europol mandate. Of these, 1 0 will continue into the year 2000. Furthermore 7 such Member State analyses which had begun prior to 1999 were also completed within the year. This Europol analytical assistance enabled an immediate response to be given to operational requirements identified by the Member States.
Two such Member State analysis projects became the subject of Analysis Work Flies in September 1999.
5.1.2 Strategic Analysis
Of the 12 strategic projects begun in 1999 five were completed during the year. Furthermore some 18 projects carried over from 1998 were also completed during 1999. In total, this meant that 23 projects were completed.
In addition a great deal of work has been undertaken in respect of the 1998 European Union Organised Crime Report. The cross checking mechanism was enhanced to ensure consistency in reporting between the Member States, with additional cross checking made against reports and information held within Europol. The structure of the report was altered to allow ease of reading and reference to the status of the recommendations of the 1997 have been included along with conclusions and recommendations emanating from the 1998 report.
A booklet on Analytical Guidelines was completed and distributed to all Member States in the English language. All 2000 copies were distributed and in view of this increased demand, additional copies will be printed. Translation into all Member States languages has been undertaken and it is envisaged that the guidelines will be available in all Member State languages before mid 2000.
5.2 Open Sources and Documentation
In 1999 the availability of open source information to all the Europol staff was refined and consolidated. On a daily basis Europol staff are updated with information in their specific area of responsibility by offering a custom-made package of information. An open source policy document was completed to further this aspect of work within Europol.
An Open Source Conference was held in The Hague in 1999, with support of Europol.
5.3 Centres of Excellence
To date around 360 Centres of Excellence have been registered in the directory. They vary in level of expertise and ability to assist. Efforts will be made to establish an upgrading of existing and future Centres of Excellence.
The third edition of the summary of Centres of Excellence is currently being translated and will be distributed on CD-ROM.
Towards the end of 1999 the Centre of Excellence concerning matters related to crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities was initiated.
6. Investigation Support
6.1 Information exchange
6.1.1 General Information Flow
In this year it was noted that Member States used the Europol channels for more complex cases than before. This might have been a result of an increased awareness among the law enforcement agencies of the appropriate way of using Europol services. However, in this field there is still much to do. Worthy of particular mention is the fact that as a result of above-mentioned activities there was a need to increase the amount of analytical assistance.
The overall figures showed, for the second year running, a decrease in numbers when compared with previous years. In respect of the percentage share of subjects of criminality, there were some minor changes. Investigations into drug trafficking still made up the majority, followed by cases on illegal immigration, stolen vehicles and related money laundering. Illicit nuclear substances were at the bottom of the scale. This means that the focus of interest where Member States requested assistance remained generally unchanged compared with previous years. The qualitative value of providing operational support through intelligence exchanged cannot be measured properly by using the current methods. The Heads of National Units and the Europol Liaison Officers who alone are able to evaluate the service (as Europol has no access to the content of the information exchange) expressed their satisfaction with the quality.
With the release of an updated version of InfoEx, that is the technical carrier of information exchange, the user friendliness and ease of handling has again been enhanced significantly.
The Liaison Bureaux contributed to the development of operational and intelligence projects covering the whole range of criminal activities. Clearly, these efforts benefited both the national authorities and Europol. Furthermore, the Liaison Bureaux continued to be an invaluable platform of co-ordination and advice in combating organised crime.
During 1999, 2180 enquires were initiated by the Member States. This marked a decrease compared with 1998, when there were 2298 enquiries.
However, one enquiry can trigger many actions of various sorts as illustrated by one particular case which led to: · 40 additional requests, which in their turn triggered 227 responses;
· 2 controlled deliveries;
· 5 surveillance operations;
· 20 requests for judicial assistance (rogatory letters);
· 3 investigation meetings, in which investigators from the concerned States participated;
0 several co-ordination meetings between the Liaison Officers involved.
The information exchange activities concerning these 2180 cases can be divided into the following categories:
information and intelligence exchanges for ongoing investigations and other law enforcement activities between the Member States:
1905 cases (87%). In 1998 the figure was 1945 (85%).
· special expertise:
192 cases (9%). In 1998 the figure was 230 (10%)
· co-ordination and other support activities:
83 cases (4%). In 1998 this was 123 cases (5%).
The above-mentioned 2180 enquiries initiated further requests and answers, totalling 9285. These investigation activities or specialised services varied in complexity.
The corresponding numbers in previous years were 9782 (1998) and 8964 (1997). This shows the intermediary positions of this year’s figures.
Enquiries can be split according to the type of crime (1):
· 1251 (58%) were drugs related. In 1998 this was 1383 (60%);
· 346 (16%) covered illegal immigration. In 1998 this was 338 (15 %);
· 333 (15%) were linked to stolen vehicles. In 1998 this was 304 (13%);
· 145 (7%) cases were related to money laundering. In 1998 this was 177 (8%);
· 98 (4%) cases concerned trafficking in human beings. In 1998 this was 96 (also 4%.).
6.1.2 Controlled Deliveries
During 1999, Member States initiated 121 controlled deliveries (1 14 involving drugs and 7 concerning other matters e.g. Illegal Immigration, Trafficking in Human Beings) compared with 46 in 1998 and 62 in 1997. This represented a significant increase over 1998. The scale of these operations ranged from parcels containing small amounts of drugs intercepted in transit between two Member States to a major seizure of cannabis and amphetamines in one of the Northern European countries. This operation involved continuous co-ordination of two deliveries, over three and four days, across six Member States, supported by Europol’s analysts.
1. The total of 2180 enquiries mentioned in section 7.1.1, 6 h paragraph slightly differs from the sum of the enquiries mentioned per area of crime in this statistic. This apparent disparity is due to the fact that the latter does not include the mandates areas related to terrorism, counterfeiting and trafficking in nuclear substances.
6.2 Development and co-operation with third states & non-European Union international
organisations A Justice and Home Affairs Council decision instructing Europol to start negotiations on cooperation agreements with third states was expected at the end of 1999. Although this failed to materialise, a major effort was made to prepare as far as possible the organisation for this important process.
These activities included, among other things, the following initiatives:
· A strategy for the development of the practical working procedures was set up;
· The working responsibilities within the organisation were established and notably the implementation of the Co-operation Bureau dealing with these issues;
· A documentation system was created;
· The preparative work for the intended initial seminars for 23 third states and 3 non-European Union bodies was carried out. Unfortunately these had to be cancelled in the absence of a Council decision;
· The preparation of the future audit (1) consultation took place in co-operation with concerned parties.
A great interest from these third states and non-European Union organisations in the activities undertaken within the framework of Europol was noted. In this respect several visits to Europol took place, for instance: the United States mission to the European Union; the Minister of Justice of Norway; the National Police Commissioner of Iceland; the deputy Solicitor General of Canada; the Minister of Interior of the Slovak Republic; the Head of Supervision and Control of the Ministry of Interior of Hungary; a delegation of the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation; the Head of the Polish Police; police delegations from Estonia and Hungary and a delegation from ICPO/Interpol.
The outcome of these visits was a better understanding of the position and role of Europol, on the procedure for the future negotiations and possible content of co-operation agreements.
1. With audit is meant the process that has to take place before Europol is entering the negotiation phase with third states and organisations.
6.3 Operational Support and Technical Support
Together with the experts from the Member States experiences were shared on specific issues to obtain sensitive information from fieldwork. In spite of the fact that due to the nature of this matter certain difficulties exist, this initiative was appreciated, as a great deal can be learned from sharing best practice.
A Manual of Controlled Deliveries was updated and will be translated into all European Union languages. A Manual on Best Practices on Drug Prevention was also updated, in order to have a collection of all the law enforcement agencies best practices in this respect.
In close co-operation with the General Secretariat of the Council, a revision of the manual on ‘Operational Practices and Techniques relating to Drug Matters in the European Union’ was prepared.
Europol’s capacity to provide technical support to operations was improved by the acquisition of appropriate equipment, the recruitment of experts and the development of expertise. Knowledge of the technical means available within the Member States law enforcement agencies was collected.
7. Information & Communications Technology
The ICT work programme for 1999 comprised eight major topics. In addition a number of detailed activities were undertaken. Considerable progress was made in this essential supportive function to the operational part of Europol.
7.1 Encrypted Telecommunication
Links with the Member States Initial plans were to provide Europol at the start of its activities with a secure voice and data network.
Following a change of strategy decided by the Management Board, the project was divided into 3 sub projects, an ISDN upgrade in 1999, a secure voice network in 2000 followed by an integrated data VPN (Virtual Private Network) in 2001. These changes of strategy tied up a complete project team supporting additional expert meetings and providing technical studies.
The first part of the project – the ISDN upgrade – was procured and carried out at the end of 1999. The impact on other projects was significant.
7.2 Information System
With a high level of involvement of Member States’ experts the tendering process for the procurement of the Information System was satisfactorily completed during the year. The invitation to tender was issued in the middle of the first semester, and the winning consortium was selected during the second semester. The contract was signed at the end of December with a start of activities scheduled the first week of January 2000.
7.3 Liaison System
The extension to the Member States of the liaison system currently in use between Europol Liaison Officers (InfoEx) was not implemented due mainly to the delays on the telecom infrastructure.
Nevertheless, a new version of the internal application was delivered and taken into use, incorporating the changes suggested by users together with a number of other improvements. The result was a system which was both more useful and easier to handle.
7.4 Security Manual implementation
The SSSR (System Specific Security Requirement) was accepted by the Security Committee early in the year. Extensive tests were made of smart cards and biometric devices.
Additional network protection and monitoring of intrusion attempts were implemented.
A new encryption device was selected to protect the links with the Member States.
7.5 Software eneryption
A specific implementation of asymmetric encryption software was made for a small number of dedicated users.
Policy and training materials were prepared. Usage of this facility was severely restricted due to a lack of resources within ICT Security as a result of heavy involvement with the implementation and roll out of the telecom infrastructure upgrade.
7.6 In-house applications
Effort was concentrated on the Analysis and Index Systems which came into operational effect with the start of activities.
The Finance, Personnel and Salary systems were also delivered progressively during the course of the year.
7.7 Preparatory work on the Euro and related to the area of combating certain crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities
Towards the end of 1999 it was possible to appoint two dedicated members of the Development Group to work with the preparatory teams dealing with the Euro and certain crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities, providing technical expertise. In the mandated area related to terrorism, the work consisted also of initiating development.
7.8 Research: Language Engineering Projects
Europol had a leading role as a member of the User Group in the latter stages of the EC funded
Aventinus project and its successor Sensus (Language Engineering for Law Enforcement Agencies, Security and Intelligence Services) also funded by the European Commission.
The knowledge gained enabled the integration into Europol systems of linguistic modules. Even more importantly, a direct result of these projects was the high level of linguistics offered in the Information System tendering responses.
8 . General Administration
8.1 Human Resources
Europol recruited additional personnel as planned according to the 1999 budget. As a consequence of the extension of Europol’s mandate to the fight against crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities and forgery of money and other means of payment, the organisation had also to recruit additional staff members on the basis of the Supplementary and Additional Budget 1999.
The start of Europol’s activities on 1 July 1999 was also the date when the Europol Staff Regulations entered into force. Therefore all the contracts of employment had to be signed by this date and Europol became responsible for paying the salaries to its staff.
Annex 11 lists the posts recruited in 1999 and the origin by country of the Europol personnel on 31 December 1999.
Training for Europol personnel addressed a variety of specific needs, for example, in respect of Project Management, Intercultural Management, Computer Skills, Languages, Media Relations, and Administrative Specialisation.
Training in Information & Communication Technologies was developed following a new approach, both during the induction period of newcomers and at more advanced levels of expertise.
A thorough Training Needs Assessment is currently being developed for the whole organisation.
Training provided to Member States
Two more Strategic Intelligence and Analysis Training courses were held at Europol, in May/June and June/July. A total of 43 participants from 14 Member States, the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Europol successfully completed the workshops.
Operational analysis courses were run at their request for the Danish Police in Denmark in June/July. In addition, as part of the UNDCP/Phare programme, a Senior Managers Seminar on analysis was held, followed by an Operational Analysis Course for law enforcement personnel from Bulgaria, Romania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Europol was actively involved in a seminar organised by the Direzione Centrale per i Servizi Antidroga of the Dipartimento delta Pubblica Sicurezza in Italy under the OISIN programme in respect of Criminal Intelligence Analysis, the seminar being attended by North African countries as well as by some Member States.
Europol assisted to the operational analysis training course and seminar in Portugal in November, which was also attended by Portuguese speaking delegates from South American and African countries.
In September 1999, Europol’s first training course on Best Practice in dealing with Trafficking in Human Beings was held. The training was an inter-active exercise during two and a half days, staged on case-studies. Additionally, investigation methods and techniques were also discussed.
Europol, in co-operation with Member States’ experts, organised a European Union training course for trainers on the combating of illicit synthetic drugs laboratories. Forensic scientists and law enforcement staff from 14 Member States attended the course.
Europol organised a training seminar for money laundering experts and contributed to training courses in the framework of Phare and the Baltic Sea Region.
Total 1998 expenditure under the Common Budget amounted to E 6,452,195. TECS expenditure totalled E 1,602,037, which was only 60 percent of the budget reservation for TECS. This difference was due to delays in the decision-making concerning the new telecommunications infrastructure. Following approval by the Management Board, an amount of IE 500,000 of the unused appropriations were carried over to the 1999 budget. Also in 1998, IF 879,699 of the carry over from 1997 was spent on the Eurlnt analysis system.
In December 1999 the external auditor issued his report on the 1998 budget. This report has been submitted to the Council, so that they may authorise the discharge of the 1998 budget.
The total for the 1999 common budget amounted to E 18.896.000. This included the TECS budget of E 3.904.500.
In addition to the 1999 budget as adopted in 1998, the Council of June 1999 adopted a supplementary and amending budget to accommodate for the new tasks of the Europol Drugs Unit and Europol, especially the combating of crimes committed in the course of terrorist activities and counterfeiting of currency. Seven new posts but no additional appropriations were included.
The implementation of the 1999 budget has been significantly different from earlier years due to the transition from the Europol Drugs Unit to Europol. Thus, the Europol Drugs Unit accounts were closed at the end of June and a separate financial statement for the first half of the year produced. The remaining budget was implemented under the responsibility of the Europol Director, with a separate financial statement for this period. The transition also meant that the Europol Drugs Unit financial rules applied to the budget implementation for the first half of the year and the audit will be carried out by the Europol Drugs Unit auditor, whereas the implementation during the second half of the Year has followed the Europol Financial Regulation and the audit will be carried out by the Joint Audit Committee. One important consequence of the application of the Europol Financial Regulation as of 1 July 1999 has been that the Financial Controller has had a role to play in connection with the budget implementation.
In 1999 the Financial Committee examined the draft rules for the implementation of the Financial Regulation. It is hoped that these rules can be finally adopted and enter into force during the first half of 2000.
Expenditure in 1999 stayed well within the budget.
After lengthy negotiations the Europol budget for 2000 was finally adopted by the Council of Ministers in December 1999. The budget totals E 27,446,000 of which E 7,000,000 is for the Europol Computer System, TECS. In December 1999 the Member States’ contributions to the 2000 budget were called up.
In connection with the adoption of the 2000 budget it was decided that a review of the planning and budget processes within Europol should be held in order to facilitate the adoption of future budgets. A team consisting of representatives from five Member States started the review in October 1999 and the final outcome was presented to the Management Board in February 2000.
8.3 General Services
The maintenance of the building remained the responsibility of the owner, the Host State. With respect to the maintenance of the building and installations, a total of 84 projects have been realised for a total amount of approximately iE 450.000.
First preparatory planning took place with the competent Dutch authorities on a possible provisional extension of the Europol premises.
8.4 Meetings and Visits
The number of meetings and visits increased again. In 1997 and 1998 respectively 199 and 283 conferences, meetings, seminars and workshops took place. At this moment nearly full capacity has been reached. In 1999 there were 216 meetings with external participation and 620 internal meetings, a total of 836 meetings.
During this year the principle of 8 interpreters interpreting 5 languages was used for all meetings in the Europol building. The number of interpreters increased due to the fact that for the Management Board and the Joint Supervisory Body meetings interpretation into 1 1 languages was required.
During 1999, there were a total of 1200 meeting days with interpretation.
The transition of all security staff members from the Dutch Ministry of Justice to Europol also took effect on 1 July 1999.
The Security Committee met two times in 1999: the Security Manual and a first step SSSR were twice presented to the Europol Management Board with a recommendation for approval.
An up-to-date threat assessment for Europol was drawn up and Europol’s first User Security Guide was also presented to the Security Committee for approval.
9. Directorate Support
9.1 Business Planning
A new strategic planning process was initiated. As a result of the advice and instructions received from Europol’s steering bodies the annual planning cycle was brought forward and revised. Increased emphasis was put on an evaluation of activities which introduced a learning process from which Europol would profit when planning ahead.
The planning process has been particularly challenging due to the fact that in 1999 there were several important political decisions, which had an immediate impact on Europol’s future course.
9.2 Legal Affairs
The main activities of the Legal Affairs Unit during 1999 were related to the further development of
the co-operation with the Europol Management Board and the Joint Supervisory Body, in particular relating to Opening Orders for Analysis Work Files, as well as to the development of internal data protection policy and regulations. Also the further development of the legal instruments for the cooperation between Europol and third states and organisations required a significant amount of legal work. Other important topics included procurement and contractual issues for the development of the Information System, as well as finalising regulations and contractual arrangements for local staff.
In the year 1999, one of the primary tasks within the field of legal matters related to data protection. As a result of this, the Europol Data Protection Policy was elaborated and adopted by the Europol Directorate in September 1999.
As a result of an enquiry initiated by the European Union Ombudsman, the Director of Europol, after having received the advise from the Management Board, informed the Ombudsman that Europol will take up his request to create rules on public access to Europol documents. The work in this respect was initiated.
9.3 Public Relations
Under the new structure of Europol, a Public Relations Unit was created in order to systematicallv improve awareness in the law enforcement field as well as in the public sector.
The official starting-up of Europol’s activities caused an increased flow of media requests about the organisation’s current activities and future developments. In addition, various political and law enforcement organisations throughout the European Union, third states as well as private institutions submitted a considerable number of requests to visit Europol or invite Europol representatives to deliver lectures and presentations.
In 1998, Europol received in writing more than 100 press requests from all over the world; in 1999 this figure mounted to more than 150. The requests for visiting Europol for meetings and presentations went up from 40 in 1998 to 130 in 1999. The requests for background information from individuals and public institutions rose to 200 in 1999, against only 130 in 1998. In this context, the Europol web-site has proved a useful source of background information for press and public.
The outcome of the majority of the activities was positive. However, a detailed evaluation identified several areas that still require further efforts in order to improve the outcome of Europol’s work.
Europol and the Member States will strive to:
– increase the intelligence available from Member States;
– develop a system to evaluate the qualitative value of the information and intelligence exchanged;
– increase the awareness of the services available to the Member States within the framework of Europol;
– promptly start, when possible, the negotiations with third states and organisations;
– increase the awareness of the possibilities the use of Analysis Work Files provides;
– gradually steer the work from strategic to operational related activities. Taking into account the great significance the above-mentioned matters have it is only realistic to presume that these headings will remain for a longer time span than one year, with a high priority, on the agenda for Europol and its Member States.
Examples of successful operations
1. Operation Bravo
Several months of close co-operation by Dutch, German, Belgian, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, French and Finnish law enforcement authorities and EUROPOL uncovered a large-scale drug trafficking organisation that had been operating in various Member States for several years. The organisation was also active outside the European Union, in particular in the Russian Federation.
In this joint effort involving various law enforcement services in the concerned Members States the concrete result of the common work was seen when in the night from 12 to 13 December 1999 12 persons were arrested simultaneously in different places in southern Finland.
At the same time, the investigation led to a substantial drug seizure. An amount of 179 kg of hashish, 21 kg of amphetamines, and 7 kg of marihuana were confiscated. The main part of the seizure was apprehended from a truck, with Finnish licence plates, with which the drugs had been smuggled into Finland. Soon afterwards, 5 additional arrests took place. This seizure of 207 kg of drugs is the largest ever made in Finland.
The alleged leader of the organisation is from Kotka (Finland). He has previously been convicted for an aggravated narcotics offence. He was released on parole at the end of 1998.
The concerned organisation is suspected to be one of the largest importers of drugs into Finland. It maintains contacts and conducts activities in several countries. Even though the seized amount is exceptionally large in the Finnish perspective, it only represents a small part of the demand of the drug market. It is suspected that this organisation has previously smuggled equal amounts of drugs to Finland.
The Finnish Police and Customs have been working together on this case for several months with the objective to uncover this organisation. However a crucial factor for the success has been the close international co-operation without which the operation would not have been what it turned out to be. The role of EUROPOL as a co-ordinator of operative work, exchange of information and analyser of information was significant. The Europol Liaison Officers’ contribution in facilitating and overcoming various practical problems around the o’clock provided an outstanding support to the involved law enforcement units and in the spirit of a common goal.
In addition the above-described case also provided a considerable amount of experience.
Pre-trial investigation started in December 1999 and it is expected that it will take several months to conclude them
2. Operation Samot
In this operation, with the name Samot, an international organised crime group involved in illegal trafficking in human beings could be brought down with assistance from the Europol Liaison Officers
At the end of 1998 the Dutch law enforcement authorities started an investigation on an Iraqi organised crime group involved in illegal trafficking in human beings. The lead members of this organisation were residing in the Netherlands. The group organised illegal transports of Iranian nationals to the Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The initial results of the investigations revealed that the organisation was arranging several trips of illegal immigrants from the Netherlands via Belgium and France to the United Kingdom. With the aim of bringing down the whole organisation together with its international links, an international co-operation network was set up through Europol. In the beginning of April 1999 an operational meeting was organised through the liaison network within Europol with representatives of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Also information was exchanged with Belgium and France. As a result of this co-operation in the Europol framework, it was possible to arrest the main target in the United Kingdom in mid April 1999. It had been possible to track him because he had threatened to kill a woman of Iranian descent living there. It turned out that this woman had been entered illegally into the UK with the help of the target’s organisation who now threatened to kill her.
Subsequently, more information was exchanged between the investigating units through the Europol liaison network. Statements and additional evidence led to the arrest in May 1999 of 9 members of the organisation in the Netherlands and two other members in the United Kingdom and France.
3. Operation Auras
An international criminal organisation involved in trafficking of illicitly obtained motor vehicles was dismantled through international co-operation within the framework of Europol. The operation was named “Auras”.
The investigation was initiated by German law enforcement authorities. Together with Europol’s Liaison Officers, a joint investigation was set up between the German and Spanish law enforcement authorities, as it turned out that the modus operandi of this criminal act took place in both Member States.
The central figure of this criminal network turned out to be the owner of a German car rental
company with a branch in Spain. The profit of these illicit activities was used partly to buy real
estate in Spain and Hungary.
The modus operandi of the criminal organisation was to illicitly obtain the vehicles, enhance their
performance and then prepare false documentation for them. The cars were then “sold” to the
branch in Spain.
As a result of this joint investigation:
– the four main suspects of this criminal organisation were arrested in Hanover, Bielefeld and
Valencia and are now awaiting trial;
– 19 vehicles worth 1.040.000 DM were seized in Germany;
– 6 vehicles worth 500 000 DM were seized in Spain;
– 1 00 000 Deutsche Mark cash, assets worth 3 00 000 Deutsche Mark and two houses in
Hungary were seized and claim-security mortgages worth 40 000 Deutsche Mark were executed.
4. Operation Emissario
Operation Emissario involved an organisation based in Italy comprising of Italian, Dutch and South American nationals who were smuggling cocaine into Italy via the Netherlands. The Investigation started in Italy in June 1999 and intelligence received indicated that the drugs were being smuggled from Columbia/Ecuador over sea to the Netherlands with the complicity of some crewmembers. The drugs were then transported to Italy via a network of couriers. As a result of the intelligence received, data were exchanged between Italy and the Netherlands, using Europol Liaison Officers network. This initial exchange led to Europol organising a case meeting in Italy.
In August 1999 as a result of this co-operation Dutch investigators in Vlissingen arrested three crewmembers of the vessel Avila Star and seized 7 kilo of cocaine.
In October 1999 as the result of further co-operation via Europol three members of the Italian organisation were arrested in Bari and 35 kilo of cocaine were seized.
5. Operation Monza Speedy Coca
In the Operation Monza Speedy Coca an international criminal organization involved in drug trafficking was dismantled with the assistance of the Europol Liaison Officers of the Italian, Belgium and German Desks and in co-operation with the Italian DLO in Mexico.
At the beginning of 1999 the Italian law enforcement authorities started an investigation on an Italian organised crime group, active in smuggling cocaine from Latin-American countries into Europe through Italy. As a result of the increasing demand for synthetic drugs in the northern part of Italy this criminal organisation started producing synthetic drugs. The increasing number of deaths by the use of synthetic drugs in Italy and the strict police controls that were consequently carried out in this respect led to increased contacts with some Belgian individuals – without specific criminal record – specialised in producing and trafficking of ecstasy tablets.
The information exchanged between Italy and Belgium identified the illegal activities. The modus operandi of the criminal organisation was to produce the Ecstasy tablets in in-home laboratories in Belgium and to transport the pills by rental cars, with women drivers and children on board in order to avoid police checks at the borders.
An operational meeting was organised at Europol to co-ordinate the investigation in both territories and many contacts were established between the two public prosecutors in charge of the case. As a result of this co-operation in the Europol framework, it was possible to arrest seven persons three Belgian and four Italian suspects, to seize 56.000 ecstasy pills and to locate the Belgian laboratory. The main Italian target of the organisation was arrested in Mexico where he planned to invest the profit of his illicit activities in land to build tourist facilities.
The useful documentation seized as a result of the arrests enabled the investigators to start a second phase of the operation and to trace a new branch of the criminal network operating in Gennany. The investigation continues.
6. Operation Page
In December 1998 a Dutch regional police force started the investigation, after it had received intelligence concerning the transport of ecstasy tablets to the United Kingdom by a criminal organisation based in The Hague.
This first investigation revealed that members of the criminal organisation met each other and spoke by phone on a regular basis. In these contacts some Italian persons were involved. Further inquiries revealed that two Italians were the main organisers. The drugs crossed the Italian border at Udine, with the complicity of one of the employees there.
Two operational meetings were held at Europol in order to co-ordinate the operation and to take further steps to dismantle the criminal organization.
Later in November 1999, further investigative developments allowed the investigators to arrest two of the main Italian targets and to seize 30.000 ecstasy tablets. One of the arrested persons was a janitor and smuggled ecstasy tablets into the school where she worked.
As a result of the exchange of intelligence through Europol, contacts between the prosecuting authorities were established. These contacts have proved to be valuable and are continuing.