The Corporate Crime Observatory is an international platform established by independent academics and experts from different countries and backgrounds devoted to promoting the analysis and discussion of corporate and economic crime issues as well as other forms of corporate irresponsible behavior around the world.
The Corporate Crime Observatory is characterized by a multidisciplinary dimension as it aims not only to analyze and discuss economic and corporate crime from a legal point of view but also from other relevant perspectives including inter alia the philosophical, sociological, criminological, and psychological ones. To this end, the participation of experts across the world interested in collaborating with the Corporate Crime Observatory is welcome. The idea behind the Corporate Crime Observatory is to create an open, democratic and transparent discussion forum based on the initiatives of esteemed academics and experts. As a result, academics, journalists, lawyers, compliance officers, auditors, accountants, and other experts from any part of the world are invited to be in contact with us. Moreover, the Corporate Crime Observatory supports the meritorious and courageous actions of whistleblowers and other knowledgeable insiders, who face serious personal risks to unveil the truth and cast light on criminal or otherwise unethical activities. The Corporate Crime Observatory is also characterized by a global dimension in that it works towards the ambitious goal of monitoring developments in different areas of the world. As we have learned in the latest two decades, crime has no borders in a globalized world, and its fight cannot depend on a single country.
The Corporate Crime Observatory has the following aims:
to establish a repository of information and data about corporate and economic crime to facilitate access and analysis to the experts, students, and general public;
to conduct cutting-edge research in the area of corporate and economic crime in order to provide practical and innovative solutions to current issues;
to create a multi-stakeholder platform and develop a knowledge exchange hub for academics, policymakers, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, journalists, and other experts on corporate and economic crime;
to raise awareness about corporate and economic crime as well as other forms of corporate irresponsible behavior in society and to ensure that public opinion can access information in a user-friendly format;
to generate tangible changes in the regulatory environment and corporate practices by fostering concrete solutions about compliance programs, business integrity, and socially responsible behaviors;
to cluster with other public and private international and local organizations and initiatives to share best practices and create a common discussion forum.
The Corporate Crime Observatory covers the following areas:
Economic Crime. Financial or economic crime has emerged as one of the most relevant and potentially harmful forms of criminal activity in our society. As a result, irrespective of the presence of corporate actors, the Corporate Crime Observatory covers occurrences of economic crime including inter alia areas like corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, fraud, insider trading, market abuse, terrorism, and cybercrime.
Corporate Crime. In the era where the dogma societas delinquere non potest (i.e., corporations cannot be held criminally liable) has been debunked, investigations and leaks around the world have shown how corporations are responsible for having failed to prevent serious crimes committed by their members and agents. In order to monitor these growing forms of illegal behaviors, the Corporate Crime Observatory collects and analyses information and data about all the relevant areas of corporate crime. These areas include not only financial crime but also other forms of criminal activities such as manslaughter, organized crime, slavery, environmental crime, food crime, cybercrime, and others.
Executives and Employees’ Crime. The Corporate Crime Observatory deals also with analyzing more broadly the crimes committed by individuals in the corporations. First, some criminal offenses committed by individuals in the workplace – such as sexual harassment – often may not result in corporate criminal liability due to the lack of connections between the individual conduct and the company’s interest. However, companies should firmly prevent this through their policies and practices to avoid serious reputational risks. Second, some public authorities generally renounce investigating and prosecuting individuals that are responsible for corporate crime as the effect of leniency agreements. However, law enforcement agencies should firmly ensure effective law enforcement against employees and managers responsible for illegal conduct.
Unethical Corporate Behavior. The Corporate Crime Observatory aims to discuss not only illegal but also unethical and harmful forms of corporate behavior affecting all stakeholders and society. Issues like unethical lobbying, tax avoidance, unsustainable emissions, and violation of privacy are just a few examples of forms of irresponsible behavior that, although may not be considered criminal by governments, are perpetrated to the detriment of our society. When such unethical practices are carried out by corporations, which have enormous economic and political power, they may cause profound harm to individuals as well as the environment.
In order to achieve these objectives, the Corporate Crime Observatory has been structured in two main parts:
News and Opinions. This part of the Observatory aims to inform about the most recent issues relating to the areas covered by the Observatory and their evolution as well as to offer insightful opinions and useful commentaries on them. Specifically, this part of the platform includes the following three sections:
- News. The news section includes short notes that aim at illustrating recent pieces of relevant information including inter alia legislative reforms, court cases, law enforcement actions, journalistic investigations, or other events in the area of corporate crime, economic crime, or corporate irresponsible behavior. The pieces are corroborated by evidence, including references to pieces of legislation, court decisions, reports, and other relevant information or materials.
- Opinions and Papers. This section of the website includes papers representing short essays that, combining academic rigor and journalistic style, explore select relevant issues such as the ones indicated in the news section above. These papers, which are characterized by originality and objectivity, include arguments that are corroborated by scientific sources and whose scientific rigor is evaluated by the Corporate Crime Observatory's editorial board.
- Bulletin. The bulletin section includes posts that offer a summary of the ongoing activities of the Corporate Crime Observatory, its members, and partners. They may include, among others, conferences, workshops, seminars, courses, books, articles, and research projects.
Thematic Areas. Specific thematic areas are created within the platform. Each area is devoted to a specific topic as identified by the Corporate Crime Observatory's team. For example, specific parts of the website may be devoted to topics such as tax crime, disinformation, and whistleblowing. The relating web pages offer a general overview of the topic, which aims at conveying information quickly and effectively to the widest possible audience, a select bibliography, which aims at offering interested parties valuable material to be consulted in order to conduct their research, and hyperlinks to useful sources including to the ones stored in the internal repository the Corporate Crime Observatory thanks to the establishment of partnerships with research projects and organizations as well as its collaboration with experts.
The Corporate Crime Observatory analyses the following responses:
Public policymaking and law enforcement. As policymakers and law enforcement authorities are essential players in countering corporate crime, economic crime, and irresponsible corporate behavior, the Corporate Crime Observatory also collects, and analyses pieces of legislation and public authorities’ decisions adopted to prevent and punish corporate crime. Effective law enforcement, investigations, and prosecutions are essential to prevent and counter corporate crime. Therefore, the Corporate Crime Observatory takes into consideration the methods to detect, investigate, prosecute and punish corporate crime, with a particular focus on leniency measures and settlement agreements (e.g., NPA, DPA, and plea agreements).
Self-regulation and private law enforcement. As corporations play a crucial role in preventing corporate crime, the Corporate Crime Observatory collects and critically analyses initiatives, practices, and solutions adopted by corporations in order to prevent crime and other forms of unethical and irresponsible behaviors, for example by fostering compliance programs, business integrity, and corporate social responsibility. Moreover, private law enforcement is another area of analysis on which the Corporate Crime Observatory focuses taking into consideration the importance of whistleblowing, internal investigations, and self-reporting in order to discover and punish criminal and irresponsible activities.
Public-private partnerships. The Corporate Crime Observatory also focuses on the public-private partnership as a mechanism to govern current issues in the area of corporate and economic crime. On the one side, public-private partnerships appear to be a current approach to preventing and punishing these crimes. On the other, public-private partnerships could enable illegal or unethical practices. To this end, one of the Corporate Crime Observatory's aims is to observe these crucial partnerships in order to assess at the same time their effectiveness and problematic aspects.
CCO Honorary Roles
At the Corporate Crime Observatory, all roles assumed by its members are honorary in nature. The organization of work and functions is arranged to maximize the potential of each team member, with our structure centered around specific roles. We believe that our collective expertise and dedication drive the success of our Observatory.
• Head of Area: Unlike the editorial roles, the Head of Area is a member selected for having a specific high-level experience in a specific area of knowledge relevant to the activities of the Observatory, for representing the contact point in a specific geographic area, or for performing a specific function within the Observatory. The expectation for a Head of Area is to contribute consistently to the development of the Observatory in relation to the specific thematic area of knowledge, geographic area of reference, or specific function to be performed. Differently from an editor, the Head of Area is expected to contribute not only through the publication of news and opinion, but also through the organization of events, and the ability to create stable connections between the Observatory and relevant public and private actors in the geographic or knowledge area of reference.
• Senior Editor: A senior editor is the most experienced and senior role in the editorial team. This role is reserved for individuals who have acquired significant expertise in a relevant area of knowledge in their academic or professional roles and can contribute to the development of the CCO thanks to their specialized expertise and networking capabilities.
• Deputy Editor: A deputy editor is the second most senior role in the editorial team. They have demonstrated their ability to contribute to the Corporate Crime Observatory with high-quality and scientifically rigorous contributions. They have also consistently assisted with research, fact-checking, proofreading, and formatting of the content. Deputy editors have also demonstrated the capability of improving the CCO engagement with external stakeholders.
• Associate Editor: An associate editor has demonstrated to contribute on a regular basis to the CCO like an assistant editor. Moreover, they are expected to independently produce high-quality, original, and engaging content that meets the CCO editorial standards and guidelines of the publication. They are also expected to consistently support the CCO’s activities, for instance, by participating in events and inviting external contributors to submit their contributions. They may also pitch ideas, conduct interviews, and provide sources and references for their content.
• Assistant Editor: An assistant editor represents the starting role in the editorial team. They are expected to contribute to the publication of pieces on the Observatory on a regular basis, being able to identify relevant issues to be covered or commented on, usually on a specific topic or niche.