The secret lives of the Mafia hunters


January 25, 2016

Source: pri.org

The only time you are likely to see a member of the Catturandi is when they arrest a mafioso. They are the men “without a name and without a face” — when they carry out operations they wear balaclavas to ensure they can’t be identified.

The Catturandi

“We prefer to be called ‘The Band of Lions’ because that’s what we are: wild, free, and ready to attack at any given time in this jungle,” says IMD, which is how he wanted to be identified for this article.

There are fewer than 20 of them, and there is an obvious reason why they keep a low profile.

Catturandi

“Back in the day, you would receive death threats from the bad guys, goat heads sent directly to your house — it wasn’t pleasant,” he says.

In the 90s he also received photographs of his license plate, marked with a red cross. The threats drove some of his colleagues to leave the Catturandi but not IMD — and over the years the risk of assassination has reduced.

He and his fellow officers find they often develop strangely intimate relationships with the criminals they track. They can wiretap and tail them for decades before making an arrest.

Brusca

“It’s like living with these people. You hear them conceiving their children, you listen to their family issues, you see their kids growing up and their emotions become yours,” says IMD.

One of the men they bugged was a doctor in Palermo, who is now in jail.

“He was really knowledgeable, we all learned Italian literature by constantly listening to him. We would take notes, get books he mentioned in his neverending lectures to his kids. It was like listening to a radio program and we were all fascinated by his manners, his way of thinking and his creativity. It was hard to believe he was a mobster.”

The weeks after an arrest can be unsettling.

“You don’t see them anymore — it’s psychologically hard to cope with and, as they were part of your daily life, you start missing them,” says IMD.

In his two decades with the police, IMD has helped to arrest nearly 300 mafiosi, including Giovanni Brusca, notorious for kidnapping and torturing the 11-year-old son of another mafioso who had betrayed him. Brusca had the boy killed and the body dissolved in acid — as a result, the child’s family couldn’t bury him.

“When we got Brusca, ‘The Pig’, he started weeping like a child.”

At the moment of arrest, when the Catturandi storm a mobster’s house, IMD says he can have mixed feelings. “You want to ask them a lot of questions: Why do you kill? Why do you do that to another human being?”

But the opportunities for conversation are limited, and any exchanges tend to be unsatisfying.

“When we got Brusca, ‘The Pig’, he started weeping like a child. Provenzano, the boss of bosses, on the other hand, remained silent and whispered to me, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ But we got them, and that’s what matters.”

provenzano

Brusca was a key player in the crime that inspired IMD to join the police. On May 23, 1992, the Mafia placed half a ton of explosives under the road to Palermo’s international airport, killing the leading anti-Mafia judge, Giovanni Falcone. Brusca was later identified as the man who pressed the button setting off the bombs.

“I was at my girlfriend’s 18th birthday party,” says IMD, who was a biology student at the time. “Her father was the head of the Palermo police response team and when the bomb blasted, the pagers of all the police officers at the party went off at the same time and everybody left in tears. That was this girl’s debut into society.”

IMD immediately wanted to find out what was going on but when he realized the road to the airport was sealed off, he decided to drive his motorcycle to the center of Palermo instead to see how people were reacting.

Falcone-Sicilia

“Right there,” IMD recalls, pointing at a little piazza, “I saw a bunch of guys laughing and cheering while eating their panini. I went up to them and I told them Judge Falcone got killed. They stared back at me and said, ‘What the hell do we care?’

“I knew what I wanted to do. The following day I joined the police force to catch as many bad guys as I could.”

At that time, few young Sicilians wanted to join the Catturandi — partly because the job was too dangerous — so IMD’s application was accepted readily.

“Most people you knew would stop talking to you or they would spit in your face because being a cop was considered an unspeakable betrayal,” he says.

Falcone-italy

He dropped his studies and while his old university friends were “chasing girls in nightclubs,” as he puts it, IMD was tailing Giovanni Brusca and other Mafia bosses such as Salvatore “Toto” Riina, who ordered the Falcone murder.

While following Brusca, IMD and one of his colleagues ended up in Cinisi, a small town near Palermo.

“There was this group of girls so we approached them. The idea was to get introduced to people in Cinisi without raising suspicions. Of course it worked out … we got the fugitive but I had to marry her afterwards,” he laughs.

Their dates were unusual. His girlfriend — unaware of what was going on — provided useful cover.

“Instead of taking my girlfriend, now my wife, to nice beaches to kiss under the stars, I would take her to horrible places, dead-end roads paved with garbage, just because I was following the fugitive’s lover. We would start embracing and she would ask: ‘Why here of all places?’

“After dropping her off at her house, I would go back to the office and report.”

He used to tell his loved ones that he worked at the passport office. But when he and his fellow Catturandi caught Brusca, “everybody was in front of their TV screens, videotaping the arrest”, he says.

“When my wife [then girlfriend] saw those men wearing the balaclavas she noticed a familiar rear end and she called me. I couldn’t hide the truth any more. I told her, ‘Please don’t say anything to Grandma otherwise the whole world will know.’ Luckily, she was able to keep the secret.”

Matteo Messina Denaro

Italy’s most wanted mafioso today is Matteo Messina Denaro, also known as Diabolik — a nickname he took from an uncatchable thief in a comic book. The head of the Sicilian Mafia, he has been in hiding since 1993 — police believe he is living abroad, possibly in South America.

He once boasted that he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims, and last year it emerged that he had been communicating with fellow criminals using a code that referred to sheep. Messages between them included “The sheep need shearing” and “The shears need sharpening.” Eleven men were arrested in Sicily — IMD was there — but Denaro himself is as elusive as ever.

While the Sicilian Mafia is not as powerful as it was 20 years ago, it is still a problem for the island.

“They know they can’t kill people as they used to, so now the whole system has evolved into an intricate web of interests that entangles politics, finance and the very structure of Sicilian society,” says IMD.

For some, especially teenagers and tourists, the Mafia still holds a romantic aura. On Palermo’s street corners stallholders loudly advertise Godfather T-shirts, gun-shaped cigarette lighters and statuettes of men with moustaches and shotguns with one hand placed over their mouths. Muto sugno, Mum’s the word, it reads on the base of the miniatures.

One of these stalls stands just a block away from Via D’Amelio, a dead-end residential road where, on July 19, 1992, a Mafia bomb killed another judge, Paolo Borsellino. He was known as the “the good man of Palermo” for his stand against organized crime.

“These street stands are a paradox, just like this town,” says IMD. “We would like to be as civilized as the rest of the world, but we never let go this perverse fascination with the criminal underworld.”

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

Abductors free daughter, 10, of Bulgaria ‘drug lord’


April 29, 2013

Source: Krmagazine.com

Police said Monday that the kidnapped 10-year-old daughter of one of Bulgaria’s alleged cocaine-trafficking lords, Evelin “Brendo” Banev has been released after 47 days in captivity

Kidnap_Bulgaria

Abductors free daughter, 10, of Bulgaria ‘drug lord’

The kidnapped 10-year-old daughter of one of Bulgaria’s alleged cocaine-trafficking lords, Evelin “Brendo” Banev has been released after 47 days in captivity, police said Monday.

Lara Baneva was left at a parking lot in the capital around 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) Sunday and walked to a nearby police station, the interior ministry said. The girl was in good physical condition and was put under psychological care, it added.

State BNR radio reported that a ransom of 500,000 euros ($653,000) was paid for her release, but the information was not officially confirmed. According to private bTV television the kidnappers had initially demanded 2.0 million leva (1.0 million euros, $1.3 million) from the Banev family.

Lara Baneva was kidnapped on March 5 in the posh Boyana neighbourhood on Sofia’s outskirts while being driven to school. Witness reports said three masked men had opened fire on the car, wounding the driver and abducting her. The case was the first high-profile kidnapping of such a young child in Bulgaria.

The girl’s father, a 48-year-old former wrestler, was sentenced by a Sofia court on February 15 to seven and a half years in jail for laundering drug-dealing profits worth almost two million euros ($2.6 million).

The police operation against him and his accomplices was called “Cocaine Kingpins.”

Eastern_European_Mafia_Police

Banev was subsequently extradited to Italy, where he is now standing trial for allegedly trafficking 40 tonnes of cocaine from Latin America to Europe for the ‘Ndrangheta mafia between 2004 and 2007.

Lara Baneva’s kidnapping was the first in Bulgaria since 2009, when police broke up a nine-member gang nicknamed “The Bold” that carried out over a dozen abductions for ransom in 2008 and 2009.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

profile pic.jpg

ABP World Group Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

(646) 502-7443 United States

069 2547 2471 Germany

020 3239 0013 United Kingdom

01 442 9322 Ireland

031-753 83 77 Sweden

The Danger Of Wealth – Organised Criminal Organisations Target Rich People


January 23m 2016

Source: fa-mag

Facing the end of his athletic career, a famous sports figure decided to try his hand at movies. He had a good shot at some lead roles and everything seemed to be going his way-but his personal life.

A security firm he’d hired found out his girlfriend was not all she claimed to be. She’d been a prostitute, had a substance abuse problem, and those were just the issues they knew about. Feeling he wasn’t in love with her, the actor decided to sever ties.

beaten-woman

But his girlfriend wasn’t going to go that easy. She warned him that if he dumped her, she’d run to the tabloids claiming he was drunk and abusive. The fact that it wasn’t true was irrelevant. He saw his promising movie career being jeopardized. He decided to offer her a monetary settlement. He and his attorney invited the woman to lunch in a public place, with his security detail in tow.

The attorney offered the woman $500,000 to $1 million if she would sign a cease-and-desist contract and walk away. She suddenly stood up, refused the offer, became irate and started to leave. As the attorney tried to calm her, she grabbed a steak knife and lunged at her ex-boyfriend, slashing the knife in the air near his face.

The attorney intervened and was slashed across the arm before the security detail could grab her. She was booked for assault with a deadly weapon. She eventually agreed to a settlement and the actor dropped the charges.

“The attorney earned his keep. And so did we. But it’s an example of how things can really get out of hand,” says Alon Stivi, whose firm, Direct Measures International, provided the sports star’s security.

Stivi, who counts Warren Buffett among his former clients, says he’s dealt with wealthy individuals for almost 20 years, and the biggest challenge for them is knowing whom to trust.

“Us regular people don’t have to worry about that. But once you become ultra-wealthy, especially if you made a fortune or got an inheritance or you invented something, people come out of the woodwork pretending to be your long lost friend, and it can become a serious problem,” Stivi says.

GoldDigger1

The wealthy walk a minefield, security experts say. From needy relatives and parasitic partners to unstable individuals or employees with ulterior motives (such as a nanny who takes the job to infiltrate their home), the rich are constantly surrounded by people who have the potential to do them harm. And that harm can include everything from identity theft to extortion, even kidnapping.

“Most prominent people, at one time or another-whether they’re from the entertainment or business community or politics-are going to attract the attention of someone who will focus on them more than they would the average person, simply because of their wealth,” says William Besse, an executive director with the security firm Andrews International.

“Money has its advantages. But it also attracts an element who may intend to do wealthy people some harm, to take advantage of that celebrity or wealth.”
While affluent people need security, they don’t always need men with dark suits and earpieces standing vigil. What they do need is to screen more and reveal less personal information, according to experts.

One of the biggest leaks in a wealthy family’s security is their children’s Facebook accounts, experts say. Highly sophisticated criminals will prowl the Internet for any information they can get about their target, and Facebook pages are ripe with things like vacation photos and people’s dates of birth. So while the parents in a wealthy family may have a heavy security detail around them, their children may unknowingly be their weakest link.

kidnapping-ransom-insurance-10-01-04

“A lot of clients don’t really think they’re vulnerable until we actually point things out,” says Dorothy Sarna, senior vice president of Risk Management Services for the Private Client Group at Chartis, which insures one third of the Forbes 400.

Whom To Trust?
It takes time for the wealthy to be able to decipher who is trustworthy and who is not, Stivi says. Some fall back on childhood friends, thinking they can trust the people who knew them before they were rich. But those relationships can sour when the wealthy individual hires a security firm that vets all of her friends and intimate partners. Many clients are reluctant to do background checks on their friends for just that reason, Stivi says.

“They feel that by doing that to another human being, it removes the personal touch. It feels like a business transaction,” he says.

But it’s essential, he says.

“It’s either that or they wind up settling out of court with some dirtbag who meant them no good. And all of that could have been avoided if they were properly screened,” Stivi says.

And that may be the best-case scenario. Kidnapping is actually one of the greatest risks the wealthy face, and it’s often perpetrated by someone they know-someone who has intimate knowledge of their comings and goings. Abductions often occur in locations where the victims feel most secure. About 90% of kidnappings occur within view of the victim’s home or office.
“The people who are closest to them and get to know their routines present their greatest vulnerability, says William Besse, an executive director at Andrews International, a security firm based in Valencia, Calif. “If it’s a high-profile criminal act, a burglary or robbery or kidnapping, the people involved are going to place that target under surveillance, and they’re going to try to learn as much as they can about this person.”

Exxon executive Sidney Reso was abducted from his own driveway in wealthy Morris Township, N.J., in 1992. Tuxedo manufacturer Harvey J. Weinstein was kidnapped in 1993 by a man who worked for Weinstein as a collar maker.

Weinstein had just finished his customary breakfast at his favorite diner when he was forced into a car and whisked away. In 2003, billionaire hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert was kidnapped at gunpoint while leaving work. They nabbed Lampert, who at the time owned the $9 billion private investment fund ESL Investments Inc., at his office after seeing that he went in every Saturday and parked in the same spot-the one with his name on it.

“A bunch of guys went onto the Internet to find out who the wealthy people in the area were. Lampert wasn’t at the top of the list, but whoever was had security measures in place, and they felt Lampert was an easier target,” says Frank Rodman, president and COO of Truefort, a New York-based security advisory firm that exclusively services the wealthy.

David Letterman’s painter hatched a plan to kidnap Letterman’s son, a plan that might have come to fruition had the painter’s accomplice not told police about it.

David-Letterman-2013

“He had the access and the opportunity. He also happened to have a criminal record that a basic due diligence at the front end might have found,” Rodman says.

Security experts say sophisticated criminals, from kidnappers to ex-KGB agents who are now unemployed and freelancing, use people like domestic help to infiltrate the lives and businesses of wealthy people. Kidnapping isn’t the only crime in which they’ve been involved. Some steal credit card numbers and bank account information, as well as other personal information that allows them to commit identity theft or fraud.

While kidnappings in the U.S. are rare, they are not beyond the realm of possibility, so wealthy individuals should prepare for those as well, security firms say.

“The success ratio of kidnap ransom in the U.S. is very low. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a few idiots out there wanting to try,” says Ron Williams, a former Secret Service agent who has protected former U.S. presidents from Nixon to Clinton, and now owns his own security firm.

Home invasions are more frequent in the U.S. than kidnappings, Williams says. Over the last two years, Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Calif., have seen a rise in crimes in which wealthy women who have been shopping near their homes are followed back to their houses by gang members, who slip in the gate right behind them. They then rob them in their own garage or driveway and leave.

“They’ll see a woman wearing a Rolex, driving a Mercedes, and they’ll follow her home,” Williams says.

Williams advises his affluent clients to keep a low profile when they go out. People of substantial means should fly under the radar screen-meld into the environment, he says. Drive a Prius instead of a Rolls-Royce and leave the Rolex home, Williams advises.

Kidnapping is actually a greater risk for the wealthy when they travel abroad. Kidnapping rates, internationally, are on the rise, experts say, and it’s being perpetrated across the globe, from organized criminals in Brazil and Russia to drug lords in Mexico, where kidnapping has become a lucrative sideline to the drug business.

In Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, there’s also been a rash of so-called “express kidnappings” in the last two years, wherein a taxi driver spots a wealthy individual-perhaps because of her expensive jewelry or shoes-picks her up, but then instead of driving her to her destination, takes her to a remote location where his associates are waiting.

The tourist is then forced to go to several ATMs and take money out of her accounts. Some kidnappings are done close to midnight so if the ATM has a daily cash limit, the abductors can wait until after midnight and get another bite at the apple. Afterward, their victims are usually let go.
“It’s pretty easy for the kidnappers. It’s not as much work as having to hold someone for ransom,” says Tim Gaspar, CEO of Gaspar Insurance Services in Encino, Calif.

“Kidnap and ransom” insurers say they are getting as many as two claims a month for express kidnappings, Gaspar says.
Some wealthy individuals have purchased special GPS devices so that if they’re abducted, authorities can track down their signal and find them. BrickHouse Security sells a product called Spark Nano, which is a GPS tracker with a panic button that, if pressed, sends an instant alert to a security company monitoring the device.  It sells for $99, plus a monthly fee of about $30 to $40.

Another product is Executrac, which is basically just an app for a BlackBerry smartphone that turns the phone into a GPS device. It also includes a panic button. There’s no monthly fee, outside of the fees already charged by the person’s cell phone carrier.
“We’ve definitely seen an increased interest in the panic button feature,” says Todd Morris, president of BrickHouse Security in New York. “People are traveling internationally, leaving their children behind. They want to know that when they’re gone in Europe, if their kids have trouble, they can push a button and get help.”

Practically speaking, the Spark Nano makes more sense, Morris says, because the first thing a kidnapper does is throw his victim’s cell phone away. The Spark Nano device, on the other hand, is a tiny device that can be easily hidden. One can keep it in his or her pocket and depress the panic button without anyone noticing. Also, the battery lasts five to seven days.

Plugging Leaks
In general, security experts say the less public information out there about an individual, the less vulnerable he is. That’s why they recommend that wealthy people do not register their homes, cars, boats, planes or any other significant assets in their own name, or under their home or company address.

A good security firm will do a Google search on its client to see how much and what type of information comes up. The firm can then contact the disseminators of the information to make sure it is removed from public view.

Security-Protection-Investigations

If the client has an airplane, for example, it should not be named something that would easily identify the aircraft’s owner, experts say. If you’re Oprah Winfrey, you don’t register your airplane under the name “Harpo, Inc.” Anyone looking at an airplane’s aviation records can tell which planes are coming and going from the small airports, and with that information they can determine who is likely to be flying in and out.

Most security firms will do a basic risk assessment of their client to determine where the holes are. They look at the individual’s public profile: the level of his public prominence, the issues surrounding him in the public domain, the likelihood he will attract unwarranted attention.

Those working in the financial sector, for instance, are vulnerable these days because so many people have lost their jobs, while those on Wall Street seem to be doing fairly well. Indeed, Dick Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers, was punched in the face while working out at Lehman Brothers’ gym, just after the firm announced it was going bankrupt. AIG executives had protesters picketing outside their homes after their bonuses were announced.

bodyguard-2013

A corporate communications employee at one financial firm says she spent half a day on the telephone pleading with The Wall Street Journal not to publish a photo of one of the firm’s bankers if the paper was also going to publicly reveal the amount of his bonus. Some fear the fallout if New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo makes good on his threat to release bankers’ bonus amounts if he is elected governor.

“There could be laid off employees, because of the poor practices of a particular company, and yet employees see the heads of those companies getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses. That can make those people who received bonuses potential targets,” says Philip Farina, CEO of Farina and Associates, a Miami-based security firm that specializes in travel and hospitality. It’s changed the mentality on Wall Street. Where some in the financial sector used to strut their accomplishments and wealth, many would now rather lay low, security sources say.

It’s not just executives in financial services who are potential targets. Farina knew a corporate officer at a non-financial services company who began receiving death threats at her home from a disgruntled employee who’d been let go years earlier. The employee was identified before he was able to carry out those threats.

“Some people just wake up one day and say, ‘This is the day I’m going to do something,’ ” Farina says. 

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

Europol identifies 3600 Organised Crime Groups active in the European Union (SOCTA 2013 Report)


April 6, 2013

Source: Europol

In the most detailed study ever undertaken of its kind in the European law enforcement community Europol has identified an estimated 3,600 organised crime groups currently active in the EU. The EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA), published by Europol today, found that international drug trafficking remains the most active organised crime activity but it also identified the emergence of new criminal phenomena, many linked to the current economic crisis and the internet.  These new developments are changing the nature of organised crime towards a model based around a networked community of heterogeneous, international groups.

europol

“A new breed of organised crime groups is emerging in Europe, capable of operating in multiple countries and criminal sectors. These groups are no longer defined by their nationality or specialisation in one area of crime but by an ability to operate on an international basis, with a business-like focus on maximising profit and minimising risk. They are the epitome of our new globalised society,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.

The 2013 Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) delivers a set of recommendations based on an in-depth analysis of the major crime threats facing the EU. The report draws on significant intelligence collected from law enforcement agencies in the EU Member States, other EU Agencies, and Europol’s own databases.  The Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will use the report’s findings and recommendations to define priorities for the next four years.

Based on analysis of the prevailing threats the SOCTA 2013 has identified the crime areas which require the greatest concerted action by EU Member States and other actors to ensure the most effective impact on the general threat. These threats include crime areas that have recently gained significance or were not regarded as priority areas earlier, but now stand out against other crime threats because of their impact on society.  The priorities identified in the report are:

  • Facilitation of illegal immigration
  • Trafficking in human beings
  • Counterfeit goods with an impact on public health and safety
  • Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) fraud
  • Synthetic drugs production and poly-drug trafficking in the EU
  • Cybercrime
  • Money laundering

The conditions of the current economic crisis and resulting changes in consumer demand are fuelling a shift in serious criminal activity.  Reduced consumer spending power has inspired counterfeiters to expand into new product lines such as commodity counterfeiting, illicit trade in sub-standard goods and goods violating health and safety regulations. In addition to the traditional counterfeiting of luxury products, organised crime groups are now also counterfeiting daily consumer goods including foods and medical products. The increased production and distribution of these goods have significant implications for public health and safety.

Meanwhile other forms of economic crime, especially fraud, have grown in scale and impact.  Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) fraud, which derives from a manipulation of the VAT tax regime, is responsible for the loss of billions of Euros each year in the government revenues of Member States, illustrating the extent to which organised crime harms the economy.

Money seized by German customs agency Zoll during anti-money laundering operation is displayed before agency's annual statistics news conference in Berlin

“The fight against organised crime has big implications for the EU’s ability to secure an effective economic recovery.  Through a recent expansion of the ‘black market’ and notable developments in fraudulent activity criminal groups are denying governments, businesses, and citizens billions of Euros each year in lost tax receipts, profits, and private income.  Stronger action is needed in the EU to close down these criminal activities and protect our economic base,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.

The internet is also a major driver of criminal activity, enabling organised crime groups to access a large pool of victims, obscure their activities and carry out a diverse range of criminal acts in a shorter period of time and on a much larger scale than ever before. The spread of the internet and technological advances have caused significant shifts in crime areas and the pattern of criminal activity.

The SOCTA 2013 report is Europol’s flagship product providing information to Europe’s law enforcement community and decision-makers about the threat of serious and organised crime to the EU. The report exists in two versions a restricted for law enforcement and a public version which is available in the Europol publications section of their website.

EU crime gangs find new ways to make money in bad times

 

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

profile pic.jpg

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

(646) 502-7443 United States

069 2547 2471 Germany

020 3239 0013 United Kingdom

01 442 9322 Ireland
031-753 83 77 Sweden

Kidnap threat grows as European economic woes continue


January 12, 2013

Source: commercialriskeurope

The 20,000 kidnappings reported worldwide annually represents a growing risk for business with the economic woes in Europe likely to see incidents rise in countries such as Greece and Italy, Willis warned this week.

kidnapping_02

In its Resilience publication, the broker said the actual number of kidnaps is likely to be far higher than the official figures suggest as many go unreported.

In hotspot Mexico there were over 2,000 kidnaps reported last year, but according to the Council for Law and Human Rights, an NGO that works with families of victims, the true figure is around 18,000.

Earlier this year global security company Red24 noted that official data showed a 9% increase in kidnapping incidents between 2010 and 2011.

Please sign up here to our full-time mailing list to ensure that you receive our weekly newsletter.

“The threat is growing, the risk is fluid and it can very easily move from one country to another,” said Richard Scurrell, Executive Director at Willis’ specialist kidnap-and-ransom division, Special Contingency Risks (SCR).

A number of factors are driving this increase, primarily inequalities in developing nations. “A lot of the countries where kidnaps occur regularly have a fantastically wealthy element of the population at the top, a very small middle class and a very large poor population,” explained Paul Mills, Executive Director of Security Services at SCR.

As the economic crisis in many parts of the world drags on, so more countries may match this profile, he continued.

Mexico, for example, saw a surge in kidnapping and extortion following the economic crash of 1994, and now Mr Mills fears the risk could return to European countries such as Greece or Italy, where it has not been a serious issue for decades.

“We have already seen incidents of high-net-worth individuals being attacked by more radical elements,” he said.

The growth in income inequality and increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of large multinational businesses is therefore a real issue for risk managers at big firms.

As Willis pointed out: “The latter’s workers make obvious targets for abduction; the former means a growing pool of potential perpetrators.” Kidnapping comes in various guises. Planned events, where perpetrators have watched their target and are well-organised, are distinct from opportunistic crimes, where the kidnapping is an afterthought to a robbery or carjacking.

The latter tend to result in lower ransom demands and shorter detentions, but also tend to be more unpredictable, meaning more danger for the victim.

Latin America continues to pioneer new methods, such as virtual kidnapping. In these instances kidnappers monitoring victims to learn their routines and perpetrators use this knowledge to extort money from families or employers by claiming to have kidnapped the victim when he or she is simply unreachable.

Whilst the majority of large companies in the developed world already have some form of kidnap and ransom coverage, said Mr Mills, many choose not to draw attention to such policies.

kidnapped

Coverage is often not disclosed to employees to stop them becoming targets. Employees can also commit fraud against companies.

“There have been various cases where individuals have apparently been kidnapped, only to be found later hiding out,” pointed out Mr Mills.

Willis argues that the kidnap and ransom coverage is ‘wide ranging’.

Policies usually cover not just the ransom (reimbursed, rather than paid directly by the insurer), but various other expenses involved such as travel costs, medical bills, rewards for informants and time away from work for those released-important considerations, given the length of time kidnapping cases can take to resolve, said the broker.

In addition to kidnapping, insurance also typically covers against extortion, wrongful detention and hijacking.

Added endorsements might include cover for loss of earnings, security costs in the case of threats, product losses as a result of extortion, and emergency repatriation.

Kidnap and ransom policies can also cover the costs of crisis-response consultants in the event of an incident. This is their real value, said Willis.

“The real value of these policies is in the resources that are brought to bear in the event of a kidnap,” said Mr Scurrell. “The overwhelming majority of multinational organisations can afford to pay a ransom, but they’re not likely to have the expertise and experience in-house to deal with a kidnapping.”

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271