Economic crime is usually confused with another term, corruption. There are different definitions of what is corruption. Each definition illuminates different dimensions of the phenomenon to be studied, influencing the analysis and prosecution tasks to be implemented. A first definition focuses on public ethics. Here, corruption is defined as an ethical confusion between public and private space. A second vision relates the problem of corruption to the lack of transparency of the state, may that be it in the form of barriers to access public information or the pinpoint hiring opportunities to certain companies in the area of goods and services. However, there is a third definition, which is the one that we as an organization promote: corruption is one of the many parts of a more complex and more comprehensive criminal phenomenon, which is economic crime. Therefore, our vision is not limited to crimes committed in the public sector, but also extends to those perpetrated by economic actors in the private sector.
Thus, economic crime covers a wide range of offenses, from financial crimes committed by banks, tax evasion, illicit capital heavens, money laundering, crimes committed by public officials (like bribery, embezzlement, traffic of influences, etc.) among many others.
Economic crime is regarded to generate a considerable social damage. That’s because it doesn’t only affect democratic institutions but also undermines the state treasure by cutting available resources for the implementation of public policies. Those who are more vulnerable are those who need these policies the most that is way they become one of the main victims of corruption and economic crime. At the same time, the social damage generated by this criminal activities is usually invisible: apart from the general indignation, is rather complex to have a precise awareness about the true effects of these crimes.
Moreover, selective and inefficient prosecution of this type of crimes and those responsible, evidence the structural impunity in our judicial system towards this criminal activity. Of course, this is linked to the fact that economic crimes are often carried put by powerful actors linked to political and economical power.
Economic crime is generated from a hidden power that defines the relationships between economics and politics. Financial liberalization and market reforms undertaken in Argentina in recent decades, left as a result a gradual process of institutional state capture by major economic groups. This capture is now expressed in a powerful influence of these economic actors in the decision making processes, the implementation of public policies and distribution of economic and social resources.