Karlsruhe Dialogues 2010

Organized Crime - Dark Sides of Globalization

Dr. Wolfgang Hetzer




was born in 1951. He is now serving as the adviser to the Director General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), concerning Anti-Corruption. After having passed A-level examinations in 1970 he became a volunteer in the First Airborne Division of the German Army for two years.

From October 1972 Hetzer studied law at the University of Göttingen/Germany, passing the First Judicial State Examination in 1977. He then worked as a junior barrister in Germany and Brazil and in 1979 passed the Second Judicial State Examination in Hannover/Germany. He became a lawyer and research associate at the University of Saarbrücken where he completed his PHD in 1982. In 1983 Hetzer joined the Federal Tax Administration of Germany.

Over the last 25 years Hetzer has been responsible for numerous tasks. He was Head of Unit in the Federal Tax Administration, law clerk at the Federal Supreme Tax Court and a senior officer in the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology in Bonn. For more than ten years he is concerned with inner and outer security. Following the Reunification of Germany Hetzer was appointed Deputy Head of the Tax Division in the Ministry of Finance in Potsdam in the State of Brandenburg. Between 1992 and 1997 he worked as a legal adviser to a faction of the Federal Parliament of Germany on issues such as Organized Crime, Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Police, Secret Services and other security matters. Before joining the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) Hetzer was responsible for supervising the Intelligence Services in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin.


ZAK asked Wolfgang Hetzer to answer the following question:

Globalization makes it possible that organized crime expands. What can be done against it at the local level?

"Organized crime (OC) had been a transnational phenomenon long before there was a public debate about globalization. Globalization is a term that in recent times seems to have had a career boost indeed. In certain areas, though, there has always been a tendency towards global expansion if you take a look at world history (the migration period, colonialism, wars, trade, etc.). It is obvious that significant actions of OC, e.g. drug trafficking, product piracy or people smuggling, also need an international platform. The fact that felonies are prepared and committed with the help of modern technology (e.g. the Internet) makes it hard to pinpoint the site of crime, and thus limits local countermeasures. Furthermore, the outcome of the offence oftentimes becomes apparent in a different location. Whichever way you look at it: OC sells its “products” on concrete illegal markets. The first step is to take influence on the demand side; this approach would be more effective than any form of prosecution. At the same time, local security authorities need appropriate training and equipment to be able to compete with highly qualified criminal “companies.” Anywhere where OC players are active and where the damage of the crime is felt there must be harmonized legal conditions for transnational cooperation in place, and it is essential that the mechanisms of judicial assistance and of the exchange of information of the police forces actually work. Fast and decisive sanction practices and, above all, effective provisions for the skimming of profits must be warranted everywhere. The established understanding that, with regard to security policy, “inside” (local) and “outside” (global) cannot be distinguished anymore also has practical consequences for the fight against OC. The local measures that can only be hinted at here will remain ineffective, though, if they don’t become part of an international picture. "